◼️ The nationwide curfew will remain in effect, but to allow for more economic activity and freedom of movement, it will now be enforced from 11 pm and lifted at 4 am. This is not just a matter of health, but a matter of public wellbeing. Government has heard from countless Fijians, asking that the curfew be kept, saying that they feel safer with these restrictions. For that reason, effective from tomorrow, Monday, the 22nd of June, the Fiji Police Force will be enforcing curfew from the hours of 11 pm until 4 am. That revised curfew will remain in effect until further notice.
◼️ Nightclubs will stay closed.
◼️ From Monday, the 22nd of June, gatherings up to 100 individuals will be allowed. For the time being, this 100-person limit will apply to weddings, funerals, cafes, restaurants, conferences and other community gatherings.
◼️ Effective from Friday, the 26th of June, houses of worship will be allowed to re-open their doors to 100 worshippers at a time. Starting tomorrow, over the next three to four days, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services will be meeting with religious leaders to talk about how the “new normal” will look in houses of worship, and how they can adapt to protect Fijians who come to them.
◼️ Government is asking each church, mosque, and temple to share the burden of responsibility, and look after worshippers with the same duty of care that is at the centre of all our efforts. Set up hand-washing stations. Limit physical contact, encourage distancing measures and consider holding more services to ensure adherence to the 100-person limit.
◼️ Year 12 and Year 13 students in secondary schools will start classes on Tuesday, 30 June.
◼️ Tertiary institutions as well can open for face-to-face classes from 30 June.
◼️ Primary and secondary schools, as well as early childhood education, will open on Monday, the 6th of July.
◼️ Principals, teachers, and school management will be responsible for COVID-proofing their schools.
◼️ Gyms, fitness centres and swimming pools, both public pools and those at hotels, will be permitted to re-open from Monday, 22 June 2020. Operators must keep these facilities clean and maintain contact tracing information for every person who uses their facilities by checking for careFIJI installation and keeping a manual log for those who don’t have smartphones.
◼️ Contact sports simply weren’t safe when community-based transmission posed a threat. With Fiji’s outbreak contained, rugby, football, boxing and all other contact sports may resume.
◼️ Live sporting events can resume, but with restrictions. Formal indoor and outdoor sporting venues can host sporting events with spectators at 50 per cent capacity, so long as physical distancing is maintained within the venue. For informal sports events at the community level, the 100-person limit applies. This policy will be reviewed in the very near future. Sporting event organisers will be required to cooperate and all spectators must download the careFIJI App.
◼️ Cinemas will also be able to re-open their doors from tomorrow but under various conditions. Cinemas will be limited to 50 per cent of capacity. All groupings of theatre-goers, friends and family members who attend and sit together, will be required to sit 1.5 metres apart from other groupings or individuals. In between each showing, service areas need to be wiped down, seats deep cleaned and public areas must be thoroughly sanitised. And if anyone is going to go to the movies, be prepared to quickly show your careFIJI app.
◼️ As part of “Phase 2” use of the careFIJI app for contact tracing will be implemented. The careFIJI app uses Bluetooth and not data for its core function and takes almost no data to use once it’s installed. The careFIJI app is designed to be as easy, secure, and hassle-free as possible. It takes around 10 megabytes to install the app and once done, thanks to an agreement struck by the Ministry of Communications, both Vodafone and Digicel have agreed to reimburse their customers with ten times that amount, 100 megabytes, free of charge.
◼️ Government is mandating that all users of Government-issued phones, members of the disciplined forces, and users with phones issued by Government-funded statutory bodies, download the careFIJI App.
◼️ Entities in which the Government holds an interest and social welfare recipients, other Government assistance beneficiaries as well as civil servants should all download careFIJI. Government will also be working closely with private sector partners, particularly those in key economic sectors with large staff numbers, to encourage uptake of the app.
❇️ International Travel
◼️ Working with Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji, Australians and New Zealanders will be welcome to holiday in Fiji in a manner that is carefully controlled and safely insulated. Everywhere they go will be wholly dedicated to others who match the same criteria, safely guided by what will be called “VIP lanes”, allowing them to Vacation In Paradise.
◼️ To come to Fiji, Australian and New Zealand tourists can do one of the following:
☑️ Option One: Intending travellers must present a certificate from a recognised medical institution certifying their 14 days of quarantine in their home country, along with proof of a negative COVID test result within 48 hours of their departure for Fiji, at which point they can immediately start their “Bula Bubble” holiday within confined VIP lanes.
☑️ Option Two: Upon arrival in Fiji, they can complete 14 days of quarantine at their own cost in a Fijian Government-designated quarantine centre or a hotel of their choosing, after which a negative COVID test can clear them to start their “Bula Bubble” vacation.
▶️ This Bula Bubble will allow Aussies and Kiwis to once again enjoy the best of Fiji while remaining separate from any other travellers and the general public.
To be clear, any tourist who comes to Fiji on these terms still won’t be able to move freely throughout the country. All of their movement will be contained within the VIP lanes, starting on the aeroplane, then from the Nadi Airport onto designated transport to their designated resort or hotel, where they’ll remain throughout their stay.
Geographically-isolated resorts are currently being identified that are the best fit for the “Bula Bubble”. Fiji Airways, in collaboration with Tourism Fiji and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport will announce more details in due course.
◼️ Government will also establish “Pacific Pathways”, starting with all travellers from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tonga. As the only sovereign nation with a WHO-certified testing lab and the heart of Pacific aviation, Fiji is poised to become a safely-regulated quarantine hub for Pacific countries. The Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism, Fiji Airways and Fijian Government medical experts are now liaising with governments to allow travellers from Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tonga to fly into Fiji. Upon arrival, they must spend 14 days in Fijian government quarantine facilities and then pass a COVID-19 test to enter society, both at their own cost or the cost of their respective government. As risk assessments evolve, this arrangement may be expanded to Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
◼️ All Pacific Pathway flights will be run by Fiji Airways with adherence to their new “Travel Ready” protocols, that means staff will be wearing masks, health and wellness will be managed by newly established on-board personnel, and planes will be regularly sanitised. Passengers will also be health screened prior to boarding flights, those showing symptoms will not board. Passengers will be screened again on arrival, those showing symptoms will be isolated and tested for the virus.
◼️ Fiji will also be establishing safe “blue lanes”, open to those yachts and pleasure craft sailing to Fiji. Any boat coming to Fiji will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. The only port of entry will be Port Denarau Marina. If this pilot project and if successful, extending blue lanes to other ports and marinas will be considered.
◼️ Those eligible to sail to Fiji fall under two categories, both of which will require them to be tested in another country before departing.
▶️ If their journey to Fiji will take 14 days or longer uninterrupted at sea, once they dock in Fiji and show proof of a negative test result, everyone on board will be screened by the Ministry of Health for symptoms. If they’re deemed to be healthy, their yacht will be allowed to freely visit other ports throughout Fiji.
▶️ Alternatively, those with a journey at sea shorter than 14 days will be required to make up the difference in quarantine once they dock in Fiji at their own cost. So, say they spend eight days alone at sea –– they will then be required to pay for six days of quarantine in Fiji, after which they can be cleared by a negative test result, also at their own cost.
◼️ Cruise ships are still strictly banned.
◼️ New Zealand is expected to soon return to zero-case status and Australia to see more success at containing the spread of the virus. “Contained” is the keyword here, because as the pandemic rages around the world, until there is a globally-available vaccine, no country can truly claim to be truly “COVID-free” so long as it allows its citizens to return to their home country. So long as those entering Fiji pose no risk to the public at large, Fiji will remain COVID-contained, and a new COVID Risk Mitigation Taskforce has been established to carefully determine which other countries meet the same rigorous standards. Travellers from countries which earn this status will be allowed to enter Fiji without spending time in quarantine, so long as they present a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of travelling to Fiji.
◼️ As of now, under the rigorous criteria established by our medical experts, which considers key testing metrics, Fiji is considered to be the only COVID-contained country in the Pacific. So for the time being, strict quarantine restrictions and testing requirements will remain for travellers from every country entering Fiji.
◼️ If either Australia or New Zealand becomes COVID-contained, the quarantine requirements for travellers from that country will be lifted, and movement can expand beyond these bubbles to everywhere else in Fiji.
◼️ From tomorrow, Monday, the 22nd of June, Fijian citizens and Fiji residents in Australia and New Zealand will be permitted to travel to Fiji only after passing through a net of new safety measures.
◼️ These are the options for returning residents and citizens:
▶️ Intending travellers must present a certificate from a recognised medical institution certifying their 14 days of quarantine in Australia or New Zealand, along with proof of a negative COVID test result within 48 hours of their departure for Fiji. Once you arrive, you will then spend another seven days in-home quarantine in Fiji.
▶️ If you haven’t done your quarantine in Australia or New Zealand but have been tested, you can present a negative COVID-test result within 48 hours of travel and, on arrival to Fiji and spend 14 days in a government-designated quarantine centre. You can then go straight home if you are symptom-free.
▶️ Mandatory: If you’re a returning Fijian citizen or Fiji resident, and regardless of whether you arrive by air or sea, you must download the careFIJI App to enter the country. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can buy one upon landing at Nadi airport for as little as $100. If you come to Fiji, bring a smartphone or buy a smartphone and download careFIJI.
◼️ A Government COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Taskforce will also be considering special requests that promise immense economic value. Projects that are exceptionally risk-free, but also exceptionally high-reward are being discussed.
◼️ As Fiji returns to a “new normal”, there will be a focus on rekindling Fiji’s vital film and television industry. Again, this will be done in a completely safe and controlled manner. Cast and crew won’t even be allowed to board their plane without proof of a negative COVID-19 test and will be screened for symptoms both before boarding and upon landing. They’ll then be entered into government-designated quarantine, whether that’s a pre-approved hotel or a remote isolated island, for the mandatory 14-day period. Absolutely all quarantine and testing costs will be borne by the production company.