Curfew time and COVID-19

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaks during a press conference in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The announcement by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday that a nation-wide curfew would be in force from Monday night reflects the drive to fight COVID-19. Government will be enforcing a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am beginning on Monday.

Mr Bainimarama said he had continuously warned Government was not afraid to ramp up its containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic if it felt the Fijian public was not taking the crisis seriously.

The curfew, he said, was just one of the many measures they would be implementing. The decision comes in the wake of our five confirmed cases of COVID-19. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made.

There are moments in time when we will rue our lackadaisical attitude in the face of demanding scenarios that can be life-threatening. When Fijians continue to tip-toe around advice that should be adhered to, ignore calls to limit unnecessary travel, meetings and gatherings, we just have to sit back and wonder what needs to be done.

What can be done to drive messages that are supposed to protect us all? It does matter in the end how we spend our personal time, especially when lives are at stake. We have a pandemic on our hands. This isn’t the time to be mulling over who should be adhering to advice when we all should be taking ownership of the need to protect every Fijian.

We will disregard advice, ignore warnings and directives at our own risk, effectively placing ourselves at the mercy of COVID-19. Translate that to our family members and loved ones who could even find themselves staring at the frightening reality of been infected with COVID-19. Reports are still coming in of Fijians ignoring simple rules to keep COVID-19 at bay. Perhaps we need a jolt to our senses to get some semblance of order where it matters, in the good ol’ noggin.

Sceptics may even wonder whether this is enough though and whether more needs to be done. We realise there are economic considerations that must be made in line with putting in place a curfew. Perhaps, at this time, any limitation to movement may be good for us in the fight against COVID-19. Meanwhile, in its situation report yesterday, the World Health Organization stated three new countries/territories/areas from the Region of the Americas (1), and African Region (2) had reported cases of COVID-19.

The United Nations, it stated, had launched a $US2billion COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan to support the world’s most vulnerable countries. In light of additional evidence, the WHO maintains the recommendation of performing hand hygiene and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

The use of medical masks and respirators are for circumstances and settings where aerosol generating procedures are performed. So, the emphasis remains for us to adhere to some basic rules. Let’s wash our hands often with soap and water, or use sanitisers.

Let’s cough or sneeze into our elbow, or into tissues which we must dispose quickly. Let’s adhere to social distancing and restrict travel. We must be in the fight to contain COVID-19.

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