Exercise caution, warns UN rep

Nurse Melaia Tuiwara prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination drive at University of Fiji in Saweni, Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

Vaccines may be a light at the end of the tunnel but “we cannot be blinded by that light”, says United Nations resident co-ordinator Sanaka Samarasinha.

He told this newspaper that neither testing nor receiving vaccines were a substitute for adherence to measures such as physical distancing and mask wearing in public space.

“Right now, in the face of a continued threat and new uncertainty, we need to continue to exercise caution, and rethink our movements,” he said.

When quizzed if it was wise for the Government to implement a national lockdown, Mr Samarasinha said every country has had to make difficult decisions during this pandemic, weighing and balancing numerous challenges and risks.

He said the decisions that sovereign governments made were based on complex social, political, economic, cultural and health considerations among others.

“There isn’t a single perfect formula anywhere in the world.

“In fact, Fiji did incredibly well to keep the pandemic out for as long as it did. As the UN, we provide advice based on the evidence available so that decision-makers have timely and credible information on which decisions can be made.

“At the same time, the fact that one is allowed to leave one’s home to meet essential needs and access basic services doesn’t mean we should forget that there is a pandemic rampant.”

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