Weekend Herald

Fiji Govt accused of ‘failure of leadership’

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The Fiji Government’s handling of the pandemic is coming under fire again amid calls for a lockdown following the largest rise in cases since the outbreak began.

Fiji recorded 1220 new cases of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to Thursday morning — the largest tally of cases in a single day since the latest outbreak began in April.

There were a further five deaths, which health authoritie­s say have occurred over four days. This follows Thursday’s news of 10 fresh deaths over the past week.

Biman Prasad, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and National Federation Party (NFP) president, said it was a tragedy and a change in strategy was needed urgently. “It’s a complete failure of leadership that we are seeing at the moment. The mood here is quite sombre, quite anxious.

“The people are fearful that there is a lot of uncertaint­y,” he said. “People are calling for a lockdown

. . . [and]a change in the strategy to control this spread of the virus.”

Prasad said at least 60 per cent of Fiji has had its first vaccine.

The most recent deaths included four people in their sixties and a 78-year-old — none of whom were vaccinated.

A second medical aid team from New Zealand and Australia arrived in Fiji this week to assist with the worsening Covid-19 crisis.

Fiji now has 11,033 active cases, with nearly 14,000 cases recorded in the recent outbreak.

A Royal Australian Air Force aircraft from Brisbane, carrying 17 medical specialist­s and extra resources including PPE and three ambulances, touched down at Nadi Airport on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the Kiwi medical specialist­s would work alongside counterpar­ts from Australia and Fiji to strengthen infection prevention and control and system preparedne­ss.

The team will spend 10 days in quarantine and 28 days in Fiji.

Meanwhile a Fijian church minister who labelled the Covid-19 vaccine as “evil and against biblical principles” has been ordered to deactivate his Facebook account as he was bailed by a Suva magistrate.

Tuiloma Tawaivuna of the Eleventh Hour Ministry Church in Lautoka has been accused of creating public anxiety by posting anti-vaccinatio­n comments on social media and charged with six counts of malicious acts contrary to the Public Order Act.

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