6 Apr 2021

Fiji put on alert for flghts from Covid-hit PNG

8:30 pm on 6 April 2021

Fiji's government says all flights from Papua New Guinea will need to be cleared by the Health Ministry for Covid-19 threats.

PNG's Covid-19 infections surpassed 7-thousand over Easter with the death toll at 67.

Nadi International Airport in Fiji.

Nadi International Airport in Fiji. Photo: Supplied/Fiji Airports

Fiji's Health Secretary, Dr James Fong, said New Zealand and Australia had closed their borders to PNG.

Currently, the only flight into Fiji is through Indonesian airline Garuda or by chartered flights, said Fong.

"Garuda-Indonesia is familiar with our stand and requirements for airlines entering Fiji airspace," he said.

"Through this understanding, Garuda-Indonesia did not pick any passengers from PNG last week, when it called into Fiji."

Earlier, the government urged Fijians living in PNG to return home if they could.

Fong said they would announce new Covid protocols specifically for Fijians returning from PNG on a repatriation flight next week.

According to him, some of the new measures included pre-departure, in-flight, off-loading and quarantine protocols.

Fong said so far Fiji had stopped all travel from PNG until the new measures were put in place.

Second phase of vaccinations underway

Meanwhile, 50,000 Fijians are eligible to receive the two-dose Astra-Zeneca vaccine as phase two of the Covid-19 vaccinations got underway today.

The Health Ministry said this group included front-line staff at the borders, healthcare workers (including those in private healthcare), police and military officers, tourism and hotel workers, and civil servants.

The ministry said those over the age of 60 and people with medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart conditions would also be eligible to receive the vaccine.

The General Manager of the Covid Response Unit, Dr Ana Maisema, said those attending a Special Outpatients Department (SOPD) clinic with the ministry or with a private healthcare provider were also eligible.

She said Fiji continued to receive repatriated citizens from around the world.

Maisema said a list of locations where Fijians could receive the vaccines would be released soon.

"Since March last year, almost 12,000 people have come through our borders through repatriations and people who have work permits," she said.

"These include those who left the country and they have come back."

Maisema said there were also people who were "interested in investing in Fiji arriving in the country so that's another level of processing".


.. Photo: Fiji govt