COVID-19: Prudent of 2nd wave

Minister for Health and Medical Services Ifereimi Waqainabete with Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Aalisha Sahu Khan after a press conference. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

Members of the public need to take ownership of their own health and adhere to COVID-19 restrictions, says Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

He said this was the gist of a meeting between religious leaders and the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr James Fong and head of health protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan.

Dr Waqainabete said people needed to make the right decisions when it mattered.

“For instance if one sees a full bus or church they need to have the mindset to say ‘I am backing off because the restrictions are not being observed for my own safety’,” he said.

“It is about articulating how we can better prevent the spread of a possible second wave and what the new normal means in terms of the phase we are in so that we are on the same tune.

“We need to understand and do what we need to do in terms of moving forward. Data around the world indicated that COVID-19 was spread in religious meetings and festivals and the discussion is basically on making responsible decisions when practising one’s rights to gather for religious purposes.” Dr Waqainabete said moving forward, Fijians needed to keep to the new normal not only in the religious spectrum, but through all sectors of society.

“I advise people to understand the guidelines in place and try to prevent a second wave. At the ministry we don’t police but provide technical advice to the public.”

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