Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities maintaining social distancing measures in Fiji as of April 16 due to COVID-19. Lockdown lifted for Suva from April 17.

This alert affects Fiji

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 07:12 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel bans, curfews, business and transport disruptions, quarantine measures

Summary
Authorities are maintaining social distancing measures nationwide to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of April 16, the government is extending mandatory quarantines to 28 days; the extension will affect people already in quarantine and all arriving passengers. A countrywide 2000-0500 curfew will remain in effect. A ban on all gatherings and a requirement for residents to maintain physical distance from others are still in place. Nonessential businesses, such as nightclubs, gyms, and movie theaters, remain closed. Officials have advised companies to facilitate telecommuting and ensure that no more than 20 employees gather at workplaces. Authorities have extended school closures through at least June 15.

Officials will lift movement restrictions and a ban on nonessential activity in Greater Suva from 0500 April 17, following a widespread screening campaign. Authorities previously lifted similar restrictions for Lautoka. Transport restrictions in and out of the Nabua area of Suva, as well as Soasoa and Vunicagi on Vanua Levu, will continue through at least April 30. Daily workers are allowed to travel to and from Viti Levu; relatives of island residents are also permitted but are required to undergo health screenings. Authorities plan to expand health screenings to several cities, including Nadi, Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki, Labasa, Savusavu, Sigatoka and Korovou, in the coming weeks. COVID-19 case discoveries in these areas could prompt additional movement restrictions.

Police are enforcing nationwide social distancing measures, and people ignoring government orders could face fines or imprisonment. Officers are monitoring roads during the curfew and will send people home except for work or life-threatening reasons. Businesses with shift workers during curfew hours are required to provide employees with a letter of their work requirements and hours, as well as an official contact number in the event officials want to verify the information. Increased security is likely to be most stringent in areas under lockdown, as police will seek to ensure affected residents follow movement restrictions.

Transport remains suspended between main islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Fiji Airways (FJ) has suspended flights between the islands; limited service between Nadi and Suva could resume in the coming days. Ferry services remain suspended, but officials are allowing vessels to transport goods between islands. Officials on Bau Island have also banned most tourist and domestic travel to the island. The government has also banned all cruise ships from docking.

Travel Restrictions

The government continues to ban people who have traveled to the US, Europe, the UK, Iran, South Korea, and mainland China. The government has also banned all cruise ships from docking.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions; minimize outdoor activity to the extent possible. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, work, and travel arrangements. Do not check out of accommodation without confirming onward travel. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Fijian Government: www.fiji.gov.fj

Fiji Airways: www.fijiairways.com

World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int