Businesses call for total lockdown

Listen to this article:

Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dr Ram Raju .Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

Businesses in the Western Division have once again reiterated the need for a nationwide lockdown to focus on mass vaccination of the target population to achieve herd immunity quickly.

Nadi Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dr Ram Raju said Fiji’s healthcare system would not be able to cope with providing any meaningful medical care.

“The health system is already overwhelmed,” he said.

“Mortuaries are full. There’s no end in sight.

“The healthcare workers, the frontliners are getting tired and, to some extent scared.

“It is time that the Government urgently review the current strategies in place for COVID-19 pandemic prevention, control and management as they are not effective in stopping the pandemic.”

He said Government should consider a total lockdown of the entire country with the help of other public health experts who had experience in managing such outbreaks of infectious diseases in the past, including other stakeholders in the national management team that would add value in the control measures.

“A complete lockdown for at least 21 days is necessary to halt the spread and contain the pandemic. 48-72-hour notice can be issued for people to prepare for the lockdown.

“They can stock up on food, drinks, medicines and other essentials and those who are not able to do so to seek help.

“An economist has worked out that it will only cost the Government $F90 million dollars to provide all the necessities for 3-4 weeks of lockdown to the most vulnerable groups.”

He said Government should provide all the necessities to the underprivileged or those below the poverty line during lockdown.

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said they had expanded and refocused efforts to save as many lives as possible.