Omicron did not come as a surprise: Dr Fong


Policymakers in Fiji are leaving the situation to the health experts to draft the country’s next course of action.

This as the new Omicron variant has forced some bigger nations to restrict travel, while global scientists are still trying to understand the variant and its mutations.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said Fiji had risk-mitigation measures in place ahead of the re-opening of international travel.

“They’ll be risks in anything but if you mitigate those risks well but at the same time open up the tourism sector then you’re able to not only able to control or mitigate the risks but you’re also able to provide livelihoods for our people.”

National health experts say the COVID-safe measures will not change if any specimen result returns positive for the Omicron variant.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong said the detection of Omicron was expected given the laxity of COVID mitigation efforts in the region.

“I mean Omicron came as no surprise to any of us sitting in the Ministry of Health. We knew that Africa was among the region that we knew where there was relatively uncontrolled spread, we knew there was a large number of unvaccinated persons there. So we knew that there is a likelihood that we were going to get variants coming out of South Africa.”

The World Health Organisation says rational, proportional risk-reduction measures in line with international health regulations must be followed.