Editorial comment – Let’s heed advice

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) delivers his statement on the latest confirmed case of Covid 19 in the country during a press conference in Suva on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Picture: ATU RASEA

As the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced our fourth COVID-19 case yesterday, we are reminded to be vigilant.

In saying that, a Fijian who has been confined to his room for 60 days in Wuhan, China, has called on Fijians to “listen” and “don’t make the same mistakes we made”.

Varun Kapoor is urging Fijians to take the Government’s message of social distancing seriously, and stop unnecessary travel and all social gatherings.

We will disregard this advice at our own risk.

The repercussions, he believes, could be devastating.

Mr Kapoor a student at the Wuhan Institute of Technology, lives in what was the original epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak.

He went into self-isolation from January 23 following a directive from Chinese authorities.

Since then, Mr Kapoor has come out of his room five times. Fijians, he said, must be vigilant and listen to advice.

With four positive cases of COVID-19, he said it was now vital for Fijians to start practising social-distancing.

“Do not put others at risk. Just because you seem healthy does not mean you are not a carrier.”

Fiji’s latest case is a 28-year-old man who contracted the virus after returning from Sydney, Australia last Saturday.

Health Ministry head of health protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan said the fourth case was also the first COVID-19 case to be recorded in the Central Division and not related to the first three cases.

She noted that the person had listened to advice and isolated himself upon return from Australia.

“Once he started developing symptoms, he isolated himself from the rest of his family within his own home. He called the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and he was attended to immediately by a rapid response team who were able to examine him in his home and take his samples for testing,” she said.

“He did everything right. He did everything that we want returning travellers to do when they come back home.”

Dr Sahukhan said in doing that, the patient not only protected his family and his loved ones, but had also protected the people of Fiji.

Meanwhile, in its situation report yesterday, the World Health Organization stated that three new countries/territories/areas from the African Region (1), Region of the Americas (1), and Eastern Mediterranean Region (1), had reported cases of COVID-19.

It stated the number of COVID-19 cases had surpassed 300,000 globally.

Back home, our challenge continues to be on personal hygiene.

Let’s wash our hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitisers.

Let’s adhere to social distancing, stop hugging, stop shaking hands and stop sharing a bilo or taki glass.

Let’s be aware, cover our mouths with a tissue when we sneeze or cough, remembering to discard this immediately afterwards, or use our elbows.

The powers that be have the huge task of keeping us safe and aware of what’s happening around us.

Together we can assist our government to fight COVID-19.

Now more than ever, we need a united front, and we must take heed of advice.

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