Implement measures similar to China to prevent COVID-19, says Lalabalavu

Opposition MP Dr Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu (left) with the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete during a break in the parliamentary sitting last year. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

GOVERNMENT must implement and enforce extraordinary measures similar to those in China to prevent COVID-19 from reaching Fiji and spreading, says Opposition MP Ratu Antonio Lalabalavu.

He highlighted this in his response to a ministerial statement by Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete on the preparations undertaken by Government for the global outbreak of COVID-19.

Ratu Antonio said Government was tasked with the responsibility to ensure that coronavirus or COVID-19 would not reach our shores.

He said the most important role of any government was to protect the health of its people and the whole country, in this case, expected Government to prioritise their health over other considerations.

“We cannot have a “business as usual” response to this deadly global outbreak,” he said.

“While we as a nation consider measures to counter the WHO declared global health emergency, one thing that must always be paramount is that prevention is better than cure.

“Government must remember that we are dealing with people and not numbers.” Ratu Antonio said extraordinary measures meant maintaining stringent border control at all ports of entry – both at airports and sea-ports.

“Our national airline Fiji Airways continues to service destinations that have confirmed coronavirus cases. Government and the airline have a legal and moral obligations to implement measures to protect our aviation industry workers as well as those at our ports of entry.

“We must ensure that we have the capacity and resources to detect, respond and treat an active case.

“Government must have a plan of action that guides our response to a positive case and this must include declaring quarantine stations under the Public Health Act, up skilling of medical personnel in terms of knowledge, resources and protective gear.”

More Stories