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No lockdown despite hike: Bainimarama


Jun 11, 2021 10:59:38 PM

No lockdown despite hike: Bainimarama There will be no lockdown despite the increase in cases of coronavirus in the last few days.

There have been 900 cases during the current outbreak that started in April 2021 and two deaths.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said shutting down completely is a drastic measure, one that they cannot completely guarantee would even work.

Bainimarama said developing countries have never successfully implemented total lockdowns, even wealthier countries, where average families have deep pockets have rarely succeeded.

“At this stage, it should be clear that we are not going to get through this pandemic by shutting every Fijian in their homes of every business in the country,” he said.

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

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

“Twenty-eight 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.

He said it is easy to call for drastic measures like 28 days of straight lockdown for the whole of Viti Levu if they are still in a high-paying job or have a healthy savings account.

“It is easy to call for a lockdown if you do not depend on day-to-day wages or struggle to pay bills for a business that is closed,” he said.

 “It is easy to call for a lockdown if you don’t work at a factory that might permanently leave Fiji if they must shut down completely for 28 days.

“The garment factories and call centers that cannot serve overseas clients will lose those contracts and the jobs they support forever.

“Businesses, large and small, that thrive because of this economic activity could shut forever as well. Those are the ordinary Fijians who we are thinking about the informal sector,” he said.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka


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