Let’s take heed of advice

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama makes his way for his official announcement on the update of COVID-19 to the media during the press conference at Suvavou House in Suva on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama wasn’t holding back his punches yesterday. He meant business. You could see it in his face. It stood out in his facial expressions during his daily COVID-19 briefing.

When it comes down to the business of getting the message of social distancing, and why it is extremely important, there can be no other way to drive that through anyway.

Fijians will have to embrace this as an important part of our lives now. COVID-19 can never be taken lightly. It can never be taken for granted. We cannot afford to shrug it aside as just another flu-like sickness.

This is not just another flu. COVID-19 is serious. We can’t be pussy-footing around this issue of social distancing either.

Yesterday the PM highlighted the need to ditch hugging as part of our social greetings. That has to go along with the traditional handshake. We must take social distancing seriously. Fiji’s fifth COVID-19 patient contracted the virus after she hugged the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient.

Mr Bainimarama revealed yesterday the two hugged after a zumba class and also worked out in close proximity during the exercise in Lautoka.

Two family members of the fifth patient’s household — a one-year-nine-month-old baby and the 31-year-old’s sister — also showed symptoms yesterday and were now in isolation at the Lautoka Hospital.

Mr Bainimarama said given the number of Fijians in isolation and under compulsory self-quarantine, it was likely Fiji would confirm more cases in the near future.

This in itself is the frightening reality of times we now live in. We embrace trouble every time we ignore good advice.

When we consider the fact that one case was after hugging the first confirmed case, there has to be some serious thought put into what we are prepared to do as a nation. Self-isolation or quarantine may not sound fancy, or fun, but if it keeps the COVID-19 at bay, then shouldn’t this be part of the course of action we take?

Shouldn’t we be ensuring we embrace social distancing? Why would we want to place ourselves in danger, or our loved ones?

It makes no sense at all. So cut out the notion that we are immune to COVID-19. Cut out the notion that all is good, and this is just going to go away! It won’t! We won’t just go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow and all is rosy once more.

Our role is important in the fight to keep COVID-19 at bay. In its situation report yesterday, the World Health Organization stated four new countries/territories/areas from the South-East Asia Region (1), and Region of the Americas (3) had reported cases of COVID-19.

The WHO stated it had delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of COVID-19 response measures.

The WHO WhatsApp Health Alert had attracted 10 million users since its launching on Friday, and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund had raised more than $US70 million, in just 10 days.

But back home, let’s take heed of advice, listen, and do what must be done to fight COVID-19. Pay attention! Please!

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