Editorial comment – Let’s stay on course

The Sawani border - Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night, Thursday, September 17, 2021, announced the opening of all containment borders on Viti Levu as of 4am today. Picture: FILE

The containment borders around Viti Levu finally opened yesterday.

With that came a great sense of joy, it seemed.

In the meantime the permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Ministry Dr James Fong also announced 196 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24-hour period ending at 8am on Thursday.

There were 93 cases in the Western Division, 98 cases in the Central Division and six cases in the Eastern Division.

He reported 81 new recoveries as of Thursday, which meant there were 12,978 active cases.

Lest we forget though, we have recorded 49,587 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 35,686 recoveries.

In terms of deaths, as of Thursday morning, we have recorded 544 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 542 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.

Too many people have succumbed to the virus.

This is the harsh reality of our lives right now.

As we anticipate more travels around the country, and more engagements, we just have to remind ourselves about our numbers and the scenarios that exist around us.

Dr Fong mentioned that a total of 352,643 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 395,504 tested since testing began in March 2020.

He pointed out 1451 tests had been reported for September 15.

He said the 7-day daily test average was 1246 tests per day or 1.4 tests per 1000 population.

Weekly testing was at 10.3 tests per 1000 population, which he said, remained above the WHO recommended level of 4 per 1000 population per week.

The national 7-day average daily test positivity was 12.4%, which was on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Now that’s interesting. With the high level of community transmission, we just have to take a lot of factors into consideration moving forward. That means basically adhering strictly to every COVID-19 safety measure.

It means wearing masks everytime we are out and about in public. It means adhering to physical distancing rules.

We simply cannot afford to relax our guards right now. Sure, the borders are open!

However it is in our best interest to be proactive and vigilant.

Let’s remember our children are still not vaccinated. They remain vulnerable members of our families. Let’s protect them.

Let’s do the right thing everyday. If you are going to travel, stay well and stay safe.

The last thing you should do is to live dangerously.

It’s in everyone’s best interest that we stay on course.

So let’s embrace the relaxing of the containment borders and the curfew, but maintain safety standards, for ourselves, our loved ones and for our nation.

We are not out of the woods yet!

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