On Thursday, March 19, authorities announced that foreign nationals traveling from or transiting through the United States or Europe, including the United Kingdom, will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine in a third-party country before being permitted entry to Fiji. The measures have been implemented as an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This represents an extension of an existing policy that applies to arrivals from mainland China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Spain. Additionally, anyone entering Fiji from abroad will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.
On Thursday, the government also confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Fiji. The infected man had returned from travel abroad, where he contracted the virus. Fijian health officials are searching for anyone who came in contact with the man before he was quarantined on Tuesday, March 17.
Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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