Fiji Health Minister warns that Covid-19 screening is compulsory

Ifereimi Waqainabete's comments came after reports that six families in the greater Suva area had refused screening procedures, including having their temperatures taken.

The minister said officials were returning to convince the families to be screened as part of a greater community programme which had involved more than 6,000 locals.

But Mr Waqainabete said ultimately, the families did not have a choice.

Fiji starts to assess damage post-Cyclone Harold

The category four storm caused widespread flooding and damage to homes across the country.

With the full extent of the damage yet to be determined, authorities are urging the public to remain indoors until given the all-clear.

Misa Funaki, of the Fiji Meteorological Service, said communication networks were down in the outer islands, including Kadavu, which felt the brunt of Harold.

"Reports are coming in on the devastation caused by Harold - not only on the main island of Viti Levu but moreso in the maritime islands of the Lomaiviti and Lau groups," he said.

Fiji’s Vatulele island sustains massive damage from TC Harold

However, there have been no fatalities recorded.  

Village headman, Jiuta Vodo said the destruction caused by TC Harold is worse than their experience with TC Winston in 2016.  

Vodo also said it was the first time for most elders to experience such a cyclone. 

“Nothing else is left in our plantation, all the root crops have been uprooted by the strong winds. We really need help. I am pleading with the government to help us now because we have nothing else left.” 

Nauru Airlines to repatriate Nauruans in Fiji

Nauru President Lionel Aingimea confirmed a Nauru Airlines charter flight will be flying home students and other Nauruans.

According to Mr Aingimea there was support from several people including Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor enabling Nauru Airlines to do the flight.

Nauruans students and families in Nadi, Lautoka and Sigatoka will be the first on the list.

Those in Suva will travel once a lockdown is lifted.

The students based in the West are now at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi awaiting their flight.

Fiji slammed by severe TC Harold as damage reported

At 9am today local time, Harold - a category four storm - was located just west of the main island Viti Levu.

Misa Funaki, of the Fiji Meteorological Service, said Harold is now trekking southeast and is expected to cause more damage.

Mr Funaki said a hurricane force wind warning remains for Kadavu and southern Lau while a strong wind warning is in force for the rest of the country.

"There have been reports from Yasawa of huge tidal waves there," he said.

"There have been structural damage and mass flooding in some areas.

Severe TC Harold now being felt in parts of Fiji

The category 4 cyclone, with wind speeds of 170km/h and gusts of 240 km/h, is now in Fiji waters.

Mr Funaki told Fiji Village that the big the concern are the damaging winds and heavy rain.

He said there is also the concern of flash flooding of low-lying areas.

The hurricane forces winds can cause extensive roofing damage on small houses, extensive damages to doors and windows, low-lying escape routes cut off, extensive structural damage to houses, utility buildings, shrubs stripped.

Fiji braces for Cyclone Harold

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) said it had activated the national emergency operations centre.

A cyclone alert remains in force for Yasawa, the Mamanuca Group, Viti Levu, Kadavu, Lomaiviti and Southern Lau.

On its projected track, Harold, currently a category five storm, was expected to lose strength but pass just south of Kadavu before moving towards southern Lau on Wednesday.

The NDMO urged families and communities to put into practice their disaster preparedness plans.

Fiji Covid-19 cases now at 15

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says the latest case came after a batch of 25 samples were tested overnight.

He said the confirmed cases was the husband of an existing patient from Lautoka, someone who had done a Zumba exercise class with Fiji's first coronavirus case.

Mr Bainimarama said the 33-year-old man was now in isolation.

The man represented the sixth confirmed transmission that could be traced back to Fiji's first case, a flight attendant who had returned from overseas.

The government said all 15 patients remained in stable condition.

Two more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Fiji

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the first new case is the wife of the man from Labasa. She was taken into isolation two days before being diagnosed positive this morning.

The second new case is the sister of Fiji’s very first case, the flight attendant from Lautoka. 

Bainimarama says this was a case they have long been expecting.


Fiji wrestling with Covid-19 lockdown breaches

More than 500 people including police officers, church ministers and representative rugby players have been arrested for breaching the quarantine, lockdown and curfew restrictions.

Twenty-four people were also detained for holding gatherings of more than 20.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama warned anyone caught breaking the law would be dealt with severely.

"This level of lawlessness is irresponsible, un-Fijian and just plain stupid," he said.