‘Lockdown not an option’

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while delivering his national address on Friday night, June 11, 2021. Picture: SCREENGRAB

Twenty-eight days lockdown is not an option for Government to fight the COVID-19 virus, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

While delivering his national address on Friday night, he said shutting down completely was a drastic measure.

“So those who now call for 28 days of lockdown misunderstand the virus and disregard what that order would mean for our people.”

He said developing countries had never successfully implemented total lockdowns.

“Even wealthier countries, where average families have deep pockets and savings, have only rarely ever succeeded.

“After 28 days of total lockdown we could still see the virus re-emerge on day 30 or day 35 because of a single, undetected lapse by anyone, anywhere on Viti Levu.”

He said 28 days of a 24-hour curfew for all of Viti Levu would put all of us face to face with economic disaster and miserable isolation.

“If we took that route after we spent nearly 700 hours shut in our homes, Fiji would look vastly and cruelly different when we all re-emerged.

“People’s jobs may never return.

“We’d suffer structural unemployment through the permanent loss of industries.

“And I cannot allow that to happen. I will not.”

He said people living on day-to-day wages would never survive a 28 days lockdown compared with those with lucrative salary and healthy savings account.

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