‘Lockdown means a 24-hour curfew’

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Police officers check on the vehicles entring Nadi town. Picture: FILE/BALJEET SINGH

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong says some Fijians, including “those in the media” needed a better grasp of what “lockdown” meant in Fiji.

“A lockdown – in the Fijian context – means a 24-hour curfew,” Dr Fong said.

“It means no movement for any purposes except for medical emergencies.

“No shopping. No going out to get food. No going for a walk.

“No, nothing – it means total lockdown.

“Other countries have not done that.

“Australia and New Zealand have never done that.

“So to say that many other countries have done a strict lockdown is not correct.”

He said few, if any countries, had locked down in the same manner as Fiji.

“Here we have a different system and the word ‘lockdown’ signals a much stricter policy.

“Instead of going for that strict lockdown option, movement in Fiji has been restricted for essential purposes and a curfew takes effect from 6pm until 4am every day.

“Anywhere else in the world, that alone would constitute lockdown.

“And in many other places in the world, measures similar to those have worked well to reduce the spread of the virus.”