No coronavirus in Fiji, says PM

Passengers wear masks at the West Kowloon high-speed railway station as Hong Kong braces itself for a potential mass outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: REUTERS

THERE are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fiji, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

However, he said because of the nature of the virus, Government was “anticipating and actively preparing for a case of the coronavirus in the country.”

Mr Bainimarama said medical experts had revealed the disease could go undetected until symptoms appeared, as seen in the US and elsewhere.

He said it was “virtually impossible to contain a virus across international borders.”

“Therefore, we are anticipating and actively preparing for a case of the coronavirus in the country.

“We are undertaking all necessary preparations to ensure we’re ready to aggressively identify, treat, investigate and contain the virus.”

Mr Bainimarama said contingency plans were in place at major health facilities and hospitals were “stocking up on supplies to be able to respond effectively.”

“I’m urging all Fijians to do their part as well by practising good hygiene to limit the likelihood of infection.

“Wash your hands with soap and running water.

“If you are ill, cover your nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

The PM said the Fijian public could take comfort knowing that as of last week, enhanced monitoring was instituted at Nadi International Airport.

“All passengers travelling from Hong Kong and Singapore have been met by health officers who have reviewed their health declarations and determined if they have recently travelled to the Hubei Province (in China).

“We’re working closely with our national carrier, Fiji Airways, to identify all at-risk travellers checking in at overseas ports.

“These travellers will be required to undergo thermal screening prior to boarding.”

Mr Bainimarama said he was being continuously updated by the Health Ministry and would continue to personally monitor the situation and “order more severe courses of action where necessary.”

He said the successful containment of the measles outbreak, showed that the health system was “well-equipped and highly capable of rapid response.”

The PM said it was absolutely critical that any news about the virus was factual and that Fiji strictly adhered to instructions and information provided by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.

“We will only release information once it has been confirmed by the relevant experts and authorities.

“Given this is a matter of national security, we cannot tolerate unfounded fearmongering.

“Any manner of speculation is dangerous and counter-productive and should be condemned in the harshest terms.”

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