Editorial comment: Together we must fight

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr James Fong. Picture: ATU RASEA/File

There are a number of issues raised now that will attract interest in as far as our COVID-19 fight is concerned.

It seems the escalating cases of COVID-19 in Fiji has  set back hopes of opening up a travel bubble with Australia any time soon. But that’s the least of our worries  right now. Australian International Development and the Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said the “first priority is to see that progress with getting the numbers under control”.

He said this during a virtual news conference as part of the Forum Economic Ministers meeting.  It was difficult to see any progress at this stage considering the spike in COVID cases in Fiji, he noted.

We are told that about 40 per cent of women coming forward to deliver babies are testing positive for COVID-19.

That’s according to the Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong.  He highlighted this during a news conference at the Vodafone Arena yesterday, suggesting the COVID-19 numbers or tests could drop but that did not mean we were getting over it.

“We’re having close to 40 per cent of our women coming into maternity unit to deliver testing positive for misinformation.

So that gives us an indication that yes, out in the community, there’s still a high level of disease,” he said. Now people living in the Suva-Nausori containment zone who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms do not need to visit a screening clinic to get swabbed, we are told.

This, according to a Health Ministry post on the Fijian Government Facebook page yesterday. We are now urged to self-isolate for 14 days if we are experiencing – cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, fatigue/extreme tiredness, headache, aches  and pains, sore throat, fever, diarrhoea, red eyes (con- junctivitis), loss of taste or smell, and a rash on the skin.  We have been advised to eat well, drink a lot of fluids, rest  and monitor our symptoms.

We are now in the mitigation phase it seems. We had been warned about this. It is unfortunate that we have had to reach this stage. It is scary! It is frightening many people. But this is the  harsh reality of our situation today. We can be scared, or we can do something about fighting this! The fight must go on.

We must be engaged. If you are part of this fight, please continue. If you are contemplating what to do, please join us. Let’s do what must be done to fight this war against the pandemic. So let’s do the simple things right now.

Let’s control what we can. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use a hand sanitiser if you have that. If you must travel, please wear a mask correctly. Cover your nose and mouth. Do not touch your face at all when out in public. Be aware of what you touch and remind people around you to adhere to physical distancing.

If  you are travelling on public transport, be alert, be careful and be safe.  If you show symptoms, rest and follow medical advice.

Call the numbers provided by the Ministry if you have problems. We are at a stage where we must engage. Remind your loved ones to be proactive.

Remind them to stay safe. Again, we truly appreciate the work of our frontliners.

We acknowledge them for their sacrifices daily and rely on them to guide us through this frightening period.

Together we must fight this!

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