The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinary challenge to the governments of every country in the world.
Even the largest countries have buckled under the pressure. Recurring lockdowns, economic stagnation, rising unrest—these are just a few of the secondary effects of the pandemic.
But it is in medical problems and healthcare breakdowns that the worst effects have manifested. In the case of the Fiji Islands, the Fiji government has had to deal with serious issues throughout the pandemic.
Let’s take a closer look at some aspects of Fiji’s response to the COVID pandemic.
The Fiji Government Grapples With COVID-19
The story of COVID-19 in the Fiji Islands begins with a series of measures that mirrors those taken by most other nations in the world.
At first blush, the extreme geographical isolation of these islands seemed to work in their favor. Located in a remote quadrant of the South Pacific, the Fiji Islands could be cordoned off from foreign visitors.
And this is what the Fiji government did. Mandatory travel restrictions were imposed, and border quarantines were enacted. It was a wise move, since the Fijians suffer a number of endemic medical problems and health problems. The arrival of infectious travelers would only overburden an already fragile healthcare system.
The isolation of these islands poses its own problems. For instance, the Fiji government lacked the resources to tackle the disease once it entered the population, as it inevitably did. It was necessary to resort to foreign aid and expertise, as well as external healthcare systems.
As an example, the Fiji government contracted with Aspen Medical to take over hospital operations. It was also charged with upgrading hospital facilities with state-of-the-art medical technology.
But these upgrades have been late in arriving. And it seems these Aspen Medical failures may have contributed to bottlenecking the treatment of COVID patients.
Increased vaccination is being touted as the means to ending the Fiji government’s pandemic crisis. Widespread vaccination is a powerful tool in the arsenal of all healthcare providers on the islands.
Still, there have been setbacks to the Fijian vaccination program. Some are hesitant to receive the jab.
This attitude has hindered the efficacy of vaccination efforts around the world. Vaccines have also been in somewhat short supply in the Fiji Islands.
As it stands, the country has administered almost 1.3 million doses of COVID vaccines. A full 72% of the country is now vaccinated.
The Fiji government has also shied away from imposing a complete nationwide shutdown. The reason for this decision is because of the devastating toll on jobs and economic activity a shutdown would take.
An Ongoing Crisis
The COVID crisis has left no nation in the world untouched, and it has been particularly hard on smaller countries.
The Fiji government has had its fair share of struggles. Among them are the need to deal with inadequate healthcare systems and the need for foreign aid. But with nearly three-quarters of its population vaccinated, the Fiji Islands hope to have turned a corner in the pandemic.
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