From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your September 19 briefing


Bula everyone

It was one of those beautiful early mornings in Lami today. The sun was out. It was turning out to be a lovely day.

You could tell the reopening of our containment borders had actually topped up human traffic as well as vehicle movement around this little urban centre.

On the pavement next to a bread shop stood a few youngsters. They all weren’t wearing their masks properly. It was either hung over their ears, below their chins, and one had none on.

After some time, this little street that had shops lined up along it was pretty busy that early. It was clear many people were disregarding physical distancing rules.

In the Capital City later in the afternoon of the same day, a couple stood opposite the general market, on the footpath next to a major supermarket. They had their masks hanging below their chins. They were sharing a cigarette as people walked by.

With our containment zones reopening, we can only hope that people are not assuming that the COVID-19 virus is no longer with us.

We can only hope that people aren’t living dangerously under the mistaken impression that the virus is ineffective!

The permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong announced late on Friday night that there were 132 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24 hour period ending at 8am on Friday.

There were 36 cases in the Western Division, 95 cases in the Central Division and one case in the Eastern Division.

Now what should be of interest is that fact that there were three new deaths for the period of September 9 to 15.

All deaths were reported from Tavua. Two were not vaccinated and one was not fully vaccinated.

Dr Fong said, following further review, they have an additional 19 COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of July 3, 2021- August 11, 2021.

All these deaths were reported from the Central Division. An analysis of the deaths, he said, highlighted that individuals were aged between 43 to 94 years, 58% (n=11) were males, 84% (n=16) of the individuals died at home or on their way to the hospital and 89.5% (n=17) of these deaths were unvaccinated, the remaining 10.5% (n=2) received only one dose of the vaccine.

This meant, he said, that there were no deaths of individuals who were fully vaccinated.

So now we have had 566 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 564 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.

That’s a huge number. It is a shocking reflection of how we have responded to the outbreak in Fiji.

Dr Fong said the national 7-day average daily test positivity was 12.2%, which was on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Our challenge now is to never assume that the virus is contained. We have to stick to the status quo. We have to fight the virus. We cannot relax our guards. We cannot be complacent. We must adhere to every COVID-safety advice and listen to health experts. We must do this for ourselves, our loved ones and for our nation. Remember our children have not been vaccinated yet. Love them and protect them by staying safe today!


Remember you can get into the draw to win cash prizes with The Fiji Times as we celebrate our 152nd year anniversary. All you have to do is cut off a masthead of the newspaper, write your name and address, and a phone contact and place this in a bin at a store that sells the newspaper near you. It’s that easy. But you’ll have to be in it to win though! Check out Page 19 for details.


Here are some reports that made the headlines in The Sunday Times’ edition for September 19.


ETHNIC blindness conceals the underlying ethnic inequities and divisions, which has potential to spawn grievances and long-term instability. This, according to Fijian academic and director Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies Professor Steven Ratuva.


  • MOST modern states segregate data along ethnic lines because of the need to be more proactive towards creating a diverse, equal and tolerant society.
  • FORMER orthopaedic surgeon Dr Eddie McCaig says having access to ethnic data is important for health authorities, especially when it comes to profiling diseases.


  • ETHNIC data segregation should not be confused with ethnic segregation or the use of ethnic data to mobilize ethnic support since they were two different scenarios altogether.
  • THE 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) result is a true reflection on how those who govern us tackle ethnic income disparities, says the President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Rev Ili Vunisuwai.


  • FIJI is the cheapest country in the region and the third cheapest country in the world to buy data, this according to a report by
  • TRAVELERS along the Queens and Kings need to be fully vaccinated.
  • RESIDENTS of termite infested communities in Lautoka and Labasa have been warned to protect their homes against swarms leaving their nests during this time of the year.


SAVUSAVU residents, business leaders and hoteliers are assisting medical teams conducting COVID-19 vaccination, in the hope of helping them reach the target of 21,000 Fijians in Cakaudrove.



Feel the pulse of the nation. Get to know what people are talking about. Understand issues that people can relate to, and follow the unique conversations letter writers have among themselves. Pages 6 and 7.





We have a list of top articles for your Sunday reading pleasure. Go Behind the News with JOHN KAMEA, there’s Discovering Fiji, History Today, and Food with Chef LANCE SEETO. We even have Bollybaat for your entertainment needs.



The big one on the back page is about: FLYING Fijians lock forward Leone Nakarawa is expected to get his first run on for his new club in a Top 14 clash.


There’s more to read inside but you’ll have to get a copy to know what we are talking about. Happy reading

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