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Unncessary hassle for maritime travel: FLP


Oct 17, 2021 09:21:36 AM

Unncessary hassle for maritime travel: FLP Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry believes thousands of people waiting to travel to maritime islands are being put to unnecessary hassle.

Chaudhry in a statement said these people have incurred inconvenience expenses because the Government has not streamlined its procedures.

He said more than 7000 residents of Vanua Levu are still stranded in Viti Levu while about 4000 from Viti Levu are stuck in Vanua Levu.

“People are being pushed from pillar to post, often forced to go through four or five rounds of swabbing over as many days,” he said.

“These people are made to travel over long distances from one Government department to another. It takes several days to get a travel clearance.

“This is yet another instance of this government’s gross indifference and insensitivity to people’s needs.

“Before announcing the opening of travel between the two islands, it should have streamlined the process so that travel passes are issued without much inconvenience,” he said.

He said the political party had received of a mother and daughter have had to undergo swabs four times in two weeks.

“They had confirmed bookings to travel on Thursday, for the third time, but were again refused a pass by the Commissioner’s Office which claimed the flight was full,” he said.

“There is the further inconvenience of getting swabbed at a medical facility in Suva and then travelling all the way to the Commissioner’s office in Nausori to get a travel clearance.

 “We are reliably informed that 35 passengers with proper clearances, about to board the ferry at the Natovi Landing last Monday, were stopped from travelling by the Commissioner’s office.

“By the time they returned to Suva, it was past curfew time (11pm). The shipping company had to transport the passengers to their homes,” he said.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said travelers must obtain a pass before purchasing their tickets to travel by boat or aircraft.

Dr Fong said to facilitate the oversight and testing logistics of this quarantine protocol, individuals traveling to the northern division are required to obtain a repatriation pass.

“This means that all repatriation travelers must be registered and issued with a registration reference number for domestic repatriation,” he said.

“There have been two major changes made to the local repatriation protocol from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu announced on Fiji Day.

“The period of movement restriction within the quarantine program is now reduced to seven days and the option for home quarantine will be made more available

“Please note that this means that we still have a quarantine process in place that needs to be adhered to. Travelers must obtain a pass before purchasing their tickets.

“All repatriation travelers must be registered and issued with a registration reference number for domestic repatriation,” he said.

He said the registered applicants are those who have been registered for domestic repatriation on the toll-free number 163, Facebook page, or via email.

He in the Health Ministry’s latest update said all passes will be issued by the Health Ministry through the Office of the Divisional Commissioners.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka









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