COVID forces closure of Fiji’s Parliament | Daily News

COVID forces closure of Fiji’s Parliament

Fiji’s Parliament in Suva.
Fiji’s Parliament in Suva.

FIJI: Fiji’s Parliament has been forced to close as COVID-19 cases surge in the South Pacific country, overwhelming quarantine facilities and prompting calls for a nationwide lockdown.

After a staffer was found to be a close contact of a positive case, speaker Epeli Nailatikau said the legislative buildings in the capital Suva were shut.

“As a precautionary measure and out of an abundance of caution, the Parliamentary precincts and offices will be closed with immediate effect,” he said in a statement Tuesday.

Fiji went a full year without recording any community cases until April, when a second wave of infections hit. New cases have hit daily records, and an outbreak of the quick-spreading Delta variant, first identified in India, detected.

Health authorities announced 94 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total to 604 active infections.

Permanent Secretary for Health James Fong said the rising numbers were swamping quarantine facilities, forcing patients to isolate at home.

“New positive cases are being entered into home isolation, where feasible,” he said. “Specific guidance has been provided for these individuals to ensure they do not have contact with other members of their households.”

Fiji’s two largest hospitals, in Suva and Lautoka, have been converted into dedicated Covid-19 facilities, with field hospitals set up to treat non-virus patients.

Fiji successfully quashed community transmission of the virus last year with a series of tough border and movement restrictions.

But the Government has resisted imposing a nationwide lockdown during the latest outbreak, concerned it will exacerbate poverty rates already elevated by the closure of international tourism.

- HINDUSTAN TIMES


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