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Fiji continue to work toward an inclusion in travel bubble
10:24 pm GMT+12, 28/05/2020, Fiji

 Fiji is trying to get Australia and New Zealand to change the narrative with regards to the travel bubble.
 
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they would prefer our Pacific neighbours say they can open it to Fiji and other countries within the Pacific region as opposed to treating everyone as a whole group.
 
Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament that the talk coming out from Wellington and Canberra is that the Pacific will be included in the bubble.
 
However, he stressed that different countries in the Pacific have different experiences and capacities pertaining to COVID-19.
 
“For example when they talk about opening a travel bubble with Singapore they don’t say Asia, they single out Singapore because of the capacity of Singapore. We are similarly trying to get them to think along those lines.”
 
The Economy Minister also stressed that Fiji is the only Pacific island country that actually has a WHO certified COVID-19 testing lab while all other Pacific Island Countries send their samples overseas for testing.
 
Sayed-Khaiyum says the rate of testing in Fiji is also significantly higher and there have been no fatalities linked to COVID-19.
 
Meanwhile, Fiji Airways has rejected any suggestion that staff who were terminated on Monday were treated in an inhumane manner.
 
A number of posts on social media claimed that a few cabin crew were told to leave the Fiji Airways premises immediately after they received their termination letters.
 
There were further claims that a security guard had to inform some cabin crew that they were terminated and had to vacate the premises.
 
Responding to queries from FBC News, Airline chief executive Andre Viljoen said the decision was communicated to all affected staff on the same day, wherever they may have been at the time, including at the Fiji Airways Aviation Academy and other company premises.
 
According to Viljoen, where possible there was a one on one discussion with those affected, and staff who were at home or on leave were sent a letter via email, followed by a phone call.
 
He says they regret that there will be some people who will feel aggrieved by the decision and the manner in which it was communicated.
 
The airline boss says Monday was a very difficult day for Fiji Airways and those staff who had their employment terminated as a consequence of this unprecedented global pandemic.
 
Viljoen further adds that as announced earlier, they have retained staff across the company who have critical skills, training and experience.

FBC NEWS/PACNEWS


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