Fiji reopens for tourism as it hits vaccine milestone and celebrates Independence Day

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [Photo: Fijian Government]

Fiji will ease Covid-19 restrictions and announce its reopening for international travel after the country hit a vaccination milestone as it celebrates Independence Day. Changes to the country’s virus restrictions would be announced on Sunday afternoon after 80 percent of the adult population received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said.

“A full three weeks ahead of schedule! I’m grateful to everyone who’s rolled up their sleeves to help make Fiji safe,” Bainimarama said in a tweet. Last month officials said once the target was reached, Fiji would reopen travel for “green list” locations, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Singapore and parts of the United States.

Visitors must be fully vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19 before departure under the previously announced plan. Once in Fiji, they would stay in designated zones where all contacts, from hospitality staff to tour operators, would be fully vaccinated.

Reviving tourism, which government figures estimate accounts for 40 percent of Fiji’s economy, is seen as crucial to containing rising poverty in the nation of under one million people. The South Pacific nation was free of Covid for a year before the arrival of the Delta variant in April. The outbreak’s case numbers peaked in July recording more than 1,200 new infections daily. Only 40 cases were recorded on Saturday.

“I’ll announce the easing of Covid restrictions at home and our plan to reopen Fiji to the world.”

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