Photo taken on April 3, 2022 shows a beach in Suva, Fiji.Photo:Xinhua
Fiji on Thursday lifted all quarantine measures for foreign visitors as part of its efforts to revitalize the tourism industry, the backbone of the island nation’s economy and the biggest foreign exchange earner, which has been devastated by travel-related restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Fiji’s health ministry, all quarantine measures in Fiji have been lifted from Thursday, which means there is no more travel partner system, and anyone fully vaccinated and shows a negative test can come into the Pacific island country.
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health James Fong said on Thursday that Fiji’s border protection will be mediated by the fact that travellers are vaccinated, have a negative pre-departure test and will be tested in-country by a rapid antigen test (RAT) done between 48 hours and 72 hours after the arrival.
Meanwhile, Fiji Airways also reminded travellers on Thursday that they should make preparation before boarding.
All travellers aged 18 years and above will need to show fully vaccinated proof, a negative RAT or PCR COVID-19 test, travel insurance and pre-booked RAT when check-in.
Fiji closed its borders after it reported the first confirmed COVID-19 cases in March 2020. On Dec. 1 last year, Fiji reopened its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers from the “travel partner” countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Britain and the United States.
The quarantine period for those from the “travel partner” countries gradually reduced to three days but for those from non-travel partner countries, the quarantine period was 10-14 days.
Located in the heart of the South Pacific region, Fiji has a population of around 900,000 people and 333 tropical islands.
The tourism industry, which accounts for about 35 percent of Fiji’s gross domestic product, employs approximately 150,000 people directly and indirectly. In recent years before the pandemic, Fiji received more than 800,000 visitors per year.
However, the pandemic had brought Fiji’s tourism and tourism-dependent sectors to a standstill.
According to the Fijian government, Fiji is expected to receive 447,000 tourists this year.
So far, Fiji has recorded more than 64,000 COVID-19 cases with 834 deaths since March 2020. It has also recorded 912 COVID-19 positive patients who died from other serious medical conditions unrelated to COVID-19.
In Fiji, 94.1 percent of the nation’s eligible population have so far been fully vaccinated, and more than 117,000 people have received booster doses, which enables the country to reopen its borders.
Photo taken on March 20, 2022 shows a handicraft stall at a local market in Suva, Fiji.Photo:Xinhua