Sun, 27 Sep 2020

SUVA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Fiji will strictly monitor the cross-border movement to ensure its citizens' safety, local media reported Tuesday.

According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), with discussions underway on safely reopening the island nation's ports of entry, stringent protocols need to be mapped out to ensure the citizens' safety.

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Immigration Yogesh Karan said that as being the hub of the region, Fiji has been pressured to carry out repatriation flights for numerous neighboring countries.

The flights will also see cross-border movements which pose a major risk of the virus spreading however, he assured that COVID-19 safety procedures and protocols are being developed.

"Numerous questions have been asked particularly Fiji is seen as a hub, we've already facilitated few requests from numerous countries our members through the bilateral channels, repatriation of their citizens."

The United Nations and the Asian Development Bank are reportedly leading discussions on strategies to assist Fiji's economy to bounce back from the implications of COVID-19. These include plans to safely reopen ports of entry to attract foreign tourists and increase international trade with stringent protocols and procedures.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Fiji has closed its borders, and Fiji Airways, the national carrier, has suspended its international flights until the end of August this year.

Fiji had reported a total of 18 COVID-19 patients since it confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 19 this year, but all of them have fully recovered before June 5. And since July 6, Fiji has reported nine active COVID-19 cases.

On Friday, Fiji recorded its first COVID-19 related death. The remaining eight active cases of COVID-19, all border quarantine cases, are now in stable condition.

Currently, Fiji maintains the nationwide curfew from March 30.

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