The Prime Minister of Fiji, the Honourable Prime Minister, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, officially announced the first COVID-19 case in Fiji.
“In the early hours of this morning, Thursday, the 19th of March, Fiji confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. This is an event we have expected and spent months preparing for – and it is an event we are dealing with decisively. ….
“From midnight tonight, our border restrictions on mainland China, Italy, Iran, Spain and South Korea will be extended to foreign nationals who have been present in the United States of America and all of Europe, including the United Kingdom, within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji. Also from midnight, anyone entering Fiji from any overseas destination will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, meaning they must stay in one place and avoid contact with others or going out in public as much as possible.”
“The first case is identified in Lautoka, and that is where the most stringent local travel restrictions will take effect. Starting tonight at midnight, all schools and non-essential businesses within the Greater Lautoka Area will be closed until further notice. We’re defining the Greater Lautoka Area as the area spanning from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction. Banks, supermarkets and pharmacies –– and other essential businesses –– in the Greater Lautoka Area will remain open. Essential businesses include air and rescue services, air traffic control services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services and water and sewage services.
Fijians who work –– but do not live –– in this area should report to the nearest office outside of the monitored area, regardless of whether their industry falls under the essential businesses list. If there is no branch of your company outside of the Greater Lautoka area, please contact your employer and government will, in the next few days, announce how your absence from work will be treated during this situation. We advise all employers to accommodate the needs of your employees and not make any employees redundant.
Basically, if you are living in the Greater Lautoka Area, you will now stay in the Greater Lautoka Area. If you do not live in Greater Lautoka Area, you cannot travel there, even if you work there.
By continuing these essential services, we will ensure the supply of food will continue to be available. In order to maintain food security, the Agriculture Marketing Authority will be buying fruits, vegetables and root crops at the border of the Greater Lautoka Area from the farmers and middle-men to be sold to the vendors for sale at local markets in the Greater Lautoka Area. The Minister for Agriculture will provide the specifics of this programme later today.
Outside of these containment measures in the Greater Lautoka Area, our nationwide efforts to contain COVID-19 are also being drastically expanded, effective immediately. Gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned. Gatherings are defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events.
At this stage, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services outside of Lautoka may remain open, buses and Fiji Link services can continue and schools – outside of Lautoka – will remain open. However, all Fijians should avoid all non-essential travel. Nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements –– which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible –– should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately. For the time being, the judiciary will continue to function, but there will be no movement of people in remand centres into or out of the Greater Lautoka Area.”
For more on the Prime Minister’s official speech, please click here.
Recent restrictions from Fiji Immigration will now include USA, UK and all of Europe after the Prime Minister’s announcement.
Related News and Information:
A helpful way to stay up to date with international travel restrictions is through the official travel advisory sites of your country; please see the list below:
Recent updates from our South Pacific neighbours
We will update this information as the situation changes.
Vinaka and stay safe!
Your APTC Fiji team