Editorial Comment: Facing our fears

Fiji's Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Picture: FT FILE

It is encouraging to note that the safety of hotel workers at quarantine facilities in Nadi is considered very important.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete confirmed they are now being tested after cases of COVID-19 cases at border control.

“They are safe and we have been working hand in hand with them for a couple of months now,” he said.

He said health inspectors and processes were in place.

He said hotel workers were aware of the green zone, amber zone and the red zone within the quarantine facilities.

Now that cases were being detected in the quarantine facilities, workers were also being tested, “just to make sure that there is no community transmission”.

Dr Waqainabete said the ministry was working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and tourism stakeholders as Fiji tackles the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we accept there are stringent measures in place to keep the virus at bay, we will fall back on the powers that be to ensure all processes and systems are in place to ensure we are able to contain it in the quarantine facilities.

We have a challenge to contain the cases, and confine them to these facilities.

That means ensuring all those who are engaged in looking after those in quarantine are safe, and aware of procedures that must be strictly adhered to.

There is no vaccine for the virus. On the international front, CNN reported that the Australian state of Victoria recorded 216 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

Of the new cases, it stated, 186 remained under investigation. The other 30 were linked to known outbreaks.

On Thursday, it stated, Victoria reported 288 fresh cases – the most in a single day in any Australian state since the pandemic began.

The neighbouring state of New South Wales posted seven new cases on Friday, CNN reported.

CNN reported the director-general of the World Health Organization had condemned a “lack of leadership” in fighting the pandemic.

He made an emotional plea for global unity, as the world struggles to contain the virus more than six months after it was first identified.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted saying: “My friends, make no mistake: The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself. Rather, it’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.”

We are reminded about the crucial role we can play in fighting the pandemic. We must continue to play our part. Let’s adhere to social distancing rules.

Let’s not shake hands, and not hug others. Let’s wash our hands often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser if we can. Sneeze or cough into your elbow or into a tissue and dispose this thoughtfully immediately.

We also look up to the powers that be to keep us informed about the latest developments on the COVID-19 front.

We all have a major challenge before us.

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