Editorial comment – Staggering numbers again

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr James Fong. Picture: FIJIAN GOVT

It is getting difficult to shrug aside the concerning rise in COVID-19 cases here in Fiji.

The permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Ministry Dr James Fong announced 1043 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am Sunday.

The figure was frightening.

It was too high, much like the previous day’s figure.

Now the curve certainly does not seem to be going down at the rate it is appearing daily.

Again, we were directed to check out the ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard and on the Fijian Government Facebook page.

We are supposed to be able to view the approximate locations of the new cases on the dashboard via a provided link.

Dr Fong also announced 13 new COVID-19 deaths for the period of July 14 to July 17.

Now that’s quite a high number.

So given the frightening situation we find ourselves in now, we continue to ponder on questions we have been asking.

We know what must be done to flatten the curve.

We know what must be done to fight this war, and win it.

We know what can happen if we are not careful.

And we know the urgency with which we must engage in this fight.

The questions remain though.

Are we doing enough to create the level of awareness that is needed to win this war?

Are we on the right track?

Because there are still far too many Fijians not correctly wearing their masks for starters.

Some aren’t even wearing them at all.

There are still many Fijians who are either not complying with, or are ignorant of physical distancing rules.

There is some level of complacency still evident in public places.

So what is it that is lacking?

Is critical information getting through to the masses?

If it isn’t, then what are we doing wrong?

There is urgency required to get to the bottom of what it is that is causing this general lack of concern.

We are faced with a pandemic that is crippling many medical systems around the world.

It has killed hundreds of thousands of people and infected millions.

It has stretched even the best medical systems in the world to the limit.

It has closed borders, crippled economies, raised unemployment and killed livelihoods of thousands of people.

It has raised poverty levels and affected many nations.

It has basically changed the way we now live life, and it seems life is never going to be the same again any time soon.

So in the face of this dilemma, are we ready to unite as a nation to flatten our curve?

Are we doing enough to unite our people to win this fight?

For those who are fighting this good fight, please continue to preach about the advice from our health experts.

Tell your loved ones to adhere strictly to COVID-19 safety tips.

Be an example and adhere to physical distancing rules.

Ask those too close to you to move back.

Wear a mask correctly and wash your hands often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser.

Do not touch your face at all in public.

Stay home if you don’t need to be out and about.

Again we acknowledge all our frontliners.

Thank you for doing what you do.

Thank you for the sacrifice, and for the commitment.

Together Fiji, forward!

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