Editorial comment – New cases around

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong speaking at a tourism talanoa session in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

The revelation by Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong that there were 40 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the country over the past seven days is interesting.

In his virus update yesterday, he said 26 of the cases were in the Central Division, 14 in the Western Division and three in the Eastern Division.

He did mention there were no new COVID-19 deaths to report for the same period.

It is interesting when we consider the fact that we will soon open our international border to tourists next week.

That should set in motion many positive things for us as a nation. We need the domestic economy to get back to where it was pre-COVID-19.

We need Fijians back in employment. We need work hours returned to normal.

Understandably, this isn’t something that can just be brought back into play as soon as possible.

Yet, there is great hope. In the face of this sits a challenge for us all. The virus is still among us. These latest figures should be a wake-up call for us all.

They must trigger a response because our future will be negatively impacted if we don’t react positively.

As the good doctor pointed out, the “downward trend in both the new hospital admissions and total admissions in all hospitals admitting COVID-19 patients across the country is consistent with the cases and death trends”.

Hospital admissions, he said, continue on a downward trend, indicating a sustained positive response to COVID mitigation measures, population density differences and differential vaccination rates.

Dr Fong said 344 tests were reported for November 23 and the 7-day daily test average was 395 tests per day or 0.4 tests per 1000 population.

“With borders opening soon, we anticipate our testing numbers to increase from local and international repatriates as well as visitors entering the country,” he said.

We have had 695 deaths to date, with 693 recorded in the second wave alone, which started in April this year. That in itself is a poor reflection of how we responded to the second wave.

As we look forward to the reopening of our border, we have a challenge to adhere to every COVID-19 safety advice.

The announcement of the 40 new COVID-19 cases must force us to be vigilant. We have a great opportunity to keep our nation safe and our people focused on welcoming our guests.

We have a great opportunity to give our visitors confidence when they get here. We know the rules. We know why we should adhere to safety advice. Let’s stay on course, Fiji!

More Stories