Editorial comment: Creating awareness

A Republic of the Fiji Military Forces part of the COVID-19 team assist vehicle owners at the vaccination drive through at Albert Park in Suva on Friday, December 31, 2021. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in its COVID-19 situation update on Monday, January 24, announced the deaths of a four-month-old infant and a 15-year-old child.

Both, it stated, had underlying health conditions.

They were sad reminders that, “as cases increase to very high numbers in the community, our most vulnerable are at higher risk of being infected and suffering from severe disease”.

While severe disease is rare in children, it stated, the risk increases should they have significant underlying health conditions.

This is why there must be a concerted effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 to protect our vulnerable.

The ministry believes this should mean keeping up with the Vaccine Plus approach:

1. getting fully vaccinated (which includes getting a booster shot when due); plus

2. strictly adhering to the COVID transmission suppression protocols.

It stated the COVID transmission suppression protocols were:

1. Individual COVID safe measures (masking, physical distancing, avoiding crowds, hand hygiene); and

2. Settings-based measures (social gathering restrictions, indoor capacity restrictions, ventilation, and curfews).

It basically means we all have a role to play to protect ourselves from the current outbreak, as well as future outbreaks from other new variants that can arise.

The ministry believes our objective should be to live with the virus and at the same time ensure a high level of transmission suppression, and prevention of severe outcomes. Now in saying that, we are reminded about our roles in this pandemic. Whatever your take is on the unfolding scenarios, one thing is certain.

People are still dying. People are getting infected in this third wave. There has to be some awareness about staying vigilant, and why we must adhere to strict protocols. We know what must be done.

We know why we must follow the rules. It seems many Fijians are starting to become complacent, and this is very dangerous.

They appear to think the Omicron variant is just like the flu. They have a false sense of security and are living dangerously. Many are still engaging in social activities without a care in the world for safety protocols.

We live and we learn. Hopefully we will truly value advice and appreciate the reality on the ground. Hopefully we will see what’s trending, and see the available data. We would have hoped for more awareness from the powers that be, hitting at the very heart of the communities around the country.

However, that doesn’t mean that we do nothing for our loved ones. So, talk, discuss and spread the word. Talk about safety. Talk about wearing masks. Talk about washing hands often with soap and water. Talk about physical distancing.

Talk about symptoms and talk about the importance of the rules. Be aware! Be vigilant and stay safe!

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