The first case of COVID-19 has been registered in Fiji, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said on Thursday, adding that the country decided to impose quarantine on the hit territory.
“In the early hours of this morning, Thursday, the 19th of March, Fiji confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. This is an event we have expected and spent months preparing for – and it is an event we are dealing with decisively,” the prime minister said in a statement, as quoted by the FBC News media outlet.
The first patient was discovered and isolated in Greater Lautoka Area, according to Bainimarama.
“Basically, if you are living in the Greater Lautoka Area, you will now stay in the Greater Lautoka Area. If you do not live in Greater Lautoka Area, you cannot travel there, even if you work there,” the prime minister said.
The government of Fiji has also expanded the list of the nations that are subject to its border restrictions.
“From midnight tonight, our border restrictions on mainland China, Italy, Iran, Spain and South Korea will be extended to foreign nationals who have been present in the United States of America and all of Europe, including the United Kingdom, within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji. Also from midnight, anyone entering Fiji from any overseas destination will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, meaning they must stay in one place and avoid contact with others or going out in public as much as possible,” the prime minister added.
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. More than 218,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 8,800 fatalities, according to John Hopkins University.