Hard lockdown would cost Fiji $1billion


    A hard lockdown for 14 days would cost Fiji $1billion (US$500 million).

    Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this is based on an estimated loss of $300 million (US$150 million) in Gross Domestic Product and about $600 million (US$300 million) in income support for Fijians.

    Sayed-Khaiyum said this is the estimate for the entire country, adding that it does not take into account peoples’ other financial obligations.

    “People have rent to pay, they may have mortgage repayments, they may have a Bill of Sale on a vehicle and various other repayments. How will you factor in the cost for the individual?”

    Sayed-Khaiyum said it does not make sense to compare lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand because they are a higher-income countries.

    “We don’t a society that’s built on a culture of savings. We have people that can sometimes only buy food on a weekly basis or as and when they get paid. It’s okay to sit in the upper-middle class and say I can buy my food for one month and I’m okay. What about the low-income people?”

    Sayed-Khaiyum also said that hard lockdowns have not worked in many developed nations and that in most instances, those countries have continued to have supermarkets open and essential services operational.