From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your July 24 briefing

Image: THE FIJI TIMES

Bula everyone.

As we approach the weekend, we are again picking up a gloomy outlook in as afar as our COVID-19 fight is concerned.

There is a bit of positivity though as we count down to the start of our campaign at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Here are some headlines that made The Fiji Times’ edition for Saturday, July 24.

PAGE 1

Bower asks Team Fiji to remain focused

Do your best and remain focused on the task at hand. That was Team Fiji Olympic Games chef de mission Patrick Bower’s message to athletes as they began final preparations for the start of competition next week. He urged them to set aside thoughts and emotions about the COVID-19 crisis at home and play their hearts out — for themselves and for the country.

People air grievance on social media

PEOPLE are resorting to airing their grievances, grief, pain, suffering and the shocking conditions of hospitals on social media because of their experiences and frustration, says feminist and political activist Shamima Ali.

UPDATE

New COVID cases

Meanwhile, tonight, the permanent secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong announced 468 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am today. Read more about this on www.fijitimes.com

REFLECTIONS

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 have set back hopes of opening up a travel bubble with Australia any time soon. But that’s the least of our worries right now.

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.

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 today.

Health Ministry social media post on FB. Image: FACEBOOK/MOH

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 (conjunctivitis), 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. Now more than ever, we look up to the powers that be for reassurance.

But this is the harsh reality of our situation today.

We can either be afraid, or we can take ownership of this problem, and fight it.

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 in public, 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.

PAGE 3

Nawaikula loses seat in parliament

Opposition member Niko Nawaikula. Picture: RAMA

SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula has lost his seat in Parliament after his name was removed from the National Register of Voters by the Supervisor of Elections.

Narube claims budget will fail

UNITY Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube claims the 2021-2022 budget will fail to achieve its three aims – stopping the virus, supporting the economy and future proofing Fiji. The former Reserve Bank Governor and Finance permanent secretary said the budget “fails miserably to address the root causes of our problems”.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It’s the weekend and there are seven pages of letters to the editor – Pages 8,9,20,21,22,23 and 24.

Image: THE FIJI TIMES

Check out the pulse of the nation. Find out what people are thinking about and talking about. Find out about their concerns and interests.

FEATURE/OPINION

For your weekend reading pleasure, we have a list of top articles from top writers.

It’s about respect – By RICHARD NAIDU

Maybe it’s an “only in Fiji moment”. Where else could a budget be presented to Parliament in the middle of a raging pandemic with thousands of people infected by COVID, tens of thousands more at risk, hospitals – and now, morgues, overwhelmed – and the Economy Minister refuses to talk about the problem? The budget debate is about to start and no doubt there will be plenty of talk about that. But another issue has now quietly crept to the surface – an amendment to the iTaukei Land Trust Board Act on which the Opposition SODELPA party has issued a strong statement.

Politicians need check-up – By KRIS NAIDU

IN the social media age, political determinants of COVID-19 are pronounced. “There is no place for politicians to hide anymore so faults are inevitably revealed.”

Another budget disaster – By SAVENACA NARUBE

Image: FIJI TIMES ONLINE

I AM sure you have heard and read many views on the 2021/2022 national Budget presented by the Minister for Finance last Friday. Some views are full of praise. Some are realistic. I have in the course of the past four days, issued daily analysis of the budget. On Thursday, I presented a full analysis. I would like to think that my views are technically realistic. I have backed up my assessment with facts and figures. I am not a doomsayer. Much of what I have predicted has come to pass. I have been there, done that, in real life.

FT look back – By JOHN KAMEA

We have the editorial comment that appeared in The Fiji Times of Monday, March 9, 1970 on the debate of Fiji’s common name prior to independence.

Down memory lane – By RAJNESH LINGAM

IN 2016, our first Olympic Games gold medal provided a fairytale ending. Our boys stepped onto the podium to receive their gold medals from Princess Anne as tears flowed freely.

NSW mistakes lessons for Fiji – By WADAN NARSEY

WITH the Bainimarama Government obstinately refusing to lockdown, Fiji is now suffering the worst medical, social and economic crisis since the measles epidemic of 1875 which led to the deaths of a third of Fiji’s population.

Pegasus spyware – By IIAITIA B. TUISAWAU

I HAVE written a lot in recent months on cyberattacks, ransomware and cyberespionage by suspected Russian, Chinese and Iranian nation state actors. Even the US has not been spared – Edward Snowden’s 2013 disclosure of highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents revealed the agency’s ability to tap the electronic communications of almost anyone and triggered an international boom in spyware development and deployment.

Rio Déjà vu – By PRANIL RAM

Fiji 7s team goes through
their training run.
Picture: SUPPLIED

AS we countdown days and hours for the men’s sevens rugby competition in the Olympics, there has been only one question in the minds of all rugby loving fans, can we repeat the same feat as in Rio.

Jab, our only hope – By AJAY BHAI AMRIT

Bula readers! I’m impressed with many of our prominent individuals and groups who are winning the hearts of the citizens as the vaccination rates for the nation increase.

ENTERTAINMENT

There are pages of entertainment news inside for your reading pleasure.

MOTORING

Image: THE FIJI TIMES

This section is much more than just about driving a vehicle.

SPORTS

The big one on the back page is obviously on the Olympic Games.

Image: THE FIJI TIMES

There is much more to read inside. It’s the weekend afterall! But you will have to get a copy to know what we are talking about.

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