Editorial comment – That high figure

More Covid-19 cases recorded. Picture: Fiji Times.

Now this may sound like a record permanently on replay mode, however, it must be said that the rise in our COVID-19 numbers is a concern.

When the permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong announced 83 new cases on Sunday night, it would have come as a shock for many Fijians.

The figure is a massive reminder for us all of the impact of this global pandemic.

Its tentacles have stretched across the world, leaving death and sickness in its wake.

We are definitely not immune to the negative impact of this virus.

We can try as much as we want to, but seriously, we cannot escape the fact that the pandemic is changing lifestyles.

We have to live with the new normal. So when we look back at the figures issued by the good doctor, it is encouraging to note that the majority of cases are from known clusters or areas already under lockdown.

Dr Fong has pointed out that the cluster of great concern is at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva where his teams are going to great lengths to provide critical treatment without exposing themselves and their patients to the virus.

The plan, he said, was to replicate the model that was used successfully when the Lautoka Hospital was exposed. In Lautoka, the hospital was cordoned off as a COVID-care facility and a field hospital was deployed to handle non-COVID cases.

The CWMH, he said, would become a fulltime COVID-care facility, and a field hospital for the treatment of non-COVID patients is being established in conjunction with partners from Australia.

Now, in the face of that development, there is great interest in 11 of the cases, which Dr Fong said were of unknown origin, at least at the time of the announcement on Sunday.

He classified them on Sunday as cases of community transmission until proven otherwise.

Any chances of community transmission, with unknown origins, should be a major concern for us all.

In saying that though, we have to remind ourselves that we can still fight this together and reduce our figures.

Understandably there are still many sceptics questioning the timing of the relaxing of some containment borders. Given the permitted movement we now have, our challenge is to be vigilant.

This is not the time to live dangerously. It is clear that far too many Fijians are still not adhering to strict COVID-19 rules.

Some of us are still not being considerate of others, and even when under lockdown, there are some Fijians still trying to beat the system. We are told social gatherings are still happening.

As much as we may question what our police force is doing, the fact remains this is a war we must be a part of.

We must be involved! The onus is really on us as individuals to do what is right. If you are in a lockdown area, please stay put. Stay home!

Do not duck under the police barrier, and go out to the nearest supermarket or go for a stroll around the neighbourhood. The barrier is there for a reason. We must contain the virus.

Otherwise, please adhere to physical distancing rules and medical advice.

Sunday’s numbers were certainly very high. We must work on a unified front to fight the virus.

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