Fiji urged to tread carefully

Managing director of Rosie Travel Group Tony Whitton during an interview in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

Fiji must have measures in place to ensure it is able to effectively handle COVID-19 cases once borders are open.

This was the view of one of the tourism industry’s biggest players, Rosie Travel Group managing director Tony Whitton.

He said successfully managing and treating Fiji’s 18 COVID-19 cases was a huge achievement but how well it would play out for the tourism sector would depend on how educated and prepared Fijians were to participate in a COVID-19 world.

Mr Whitton made the comment in the wake of a tweet by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday that the three remaining COVID-19 cases had been cleared of the virus with no deaths and recovery rate at 100 per cent.

“This is definitely good news for the country, for our frontliners and for our people, it just shows how capable our Health Ministry people are,” Mr Whitton said.

“But the next question is, ‘what do we do with this news’.

“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

“You’ve got one side where it’s really good news but the other side is — how long will we be able to be COVID-19 free.

“One school of thought says we need to make an announcement that we are COVID-19 free now and we need to open the airports up. “But then what happens when we will get a case.

“Is it better to say we are now ready for business with the understanding that we just have to now face the reality this virus will be with us and we just have to do a good job managing it.

“To maintain the status of zero-free is really good but it’s almost a utopian situation because when you start opening the borders, you have to get to the reality that we could get some cases and what are our mechanisms for being able to manage that situation.”

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