COVID-19: Quarantine facility claims refuted

Sumintra Wati of Nakaulevu signs the petition in Navua yesterday. Picture: LITIA CAVA

THE Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, has denied that the new and old Navua hospitals will be used as a quarantine facility.

He also denied that the place was being prepared for returning Chinese nationals working on special projects in Fiji.

He was responding to widespread reports circulating in the province of Serua/Namosi and also to the call for the public to rally behind a petition being circulated by the Namosi paramount chief Ratu Suliano Matanitobua for the new Navua Hospital not to be used as a quarantine station.

He said he was aware of the concerns raised by Ratu Suliano and he had received messages through “Viber” from him.

“We have many places around the country; we have the West, the Central and the Northern divisions,” he said.

“I don’t know but it seems like it’s been implied that we are using this place to bring everybody with coronavirus.

“Every facility has to be prepared, that is what I am saying. As I have said for the measles, we were prepared in Nadi and then it went up to Navua and then we had that case at Nasilai and so Wainibokasi had to be prepared.

“We haven’t done anything to the old Navua Hospital. The last time I was there was about two to three weeks ago, so obviously we saw the statement coming out from Ratu Suli and them asking.

“I’ve read it on Viber and those are their opinions.

“I’ve heard that they’ve said that there is a plane coming and there are loads of people coming in. No! That is not true.

“We are not accepting anyone.”

Yesterday, more than 1000 people from the province including those from Beqa Island signed a petition calling on the Government not to use the new Navua Hospital as a coronavirus quarantine facility.

There were also a few petitions online against the same issue.

Dr Waqainabete also denied claims that in-patients from the new Navua Hospital had been transferred to the old hospital yesterday.

“As far as I know, there are no patients at the old Navua Hospital. They are going through the whole process of cleaning whatever.

“Also, same thing has been done in other places. Obviously we will have big hospitals for example like the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and the Lautoka Hospital, they have their own processes of preparing themselves but you know there is no coronavirus.

“We just have to make sure that we are prepared within the three divisions.”

Dr Waqainabete said there were no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fiji.

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