Content with life – Nand finds his place in society

Rohit Binit Nand. Picture: SHIRAZ KASIM

Today is a special day after months of been suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We take this opportunity to revisit something Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said last week.

Fiji, he said, had gone from having one of the highest caseloads of COVID-19 to being one of the highest vaccinated populations in the region.

That was during his opening address at the Fiji Emergency Nursing Virtual Forum.

He noted that as of Tuesday, November 23, 97.2 per cent of Fijians had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He said 90.4 per cent had received their second dose.

Dr Waqainabete also pointed out that local and international borders gradually opened from November 11. Today, we look forward to the reopening of our border for tourists, after more than 20 months.

There is a touch of optimism, however, there is also a sense of trepidation following the recent announcement of a new variant by the World Health Organization.

Any rise in tourism figures is like music to the ears. In fact it echoes across a lot of divides and would positively impact a large number of families around the country.

There are many interlinked businesses that benefit from the tourism industry.

We realise that thousands of people lost their jobs when the industry collapsed in the wake of the second wave, which struck us in April this year.

We are encouraged by the high vaccination rate.

However, in saying that, we are also grounded by the fact that there is a new variant which is causing great concern.

There will be questions raised about the impact of this latest announcement on our willingness to reopen our border.

Sceptics will insist a delay in the reopening of our border would make sense following concerns raised by the WHO over the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

With the expected arrival of tourists now set to go ahead, as the good doctor pointed out last week, we cannot be complacent.

We are reminded about keeping the faith in systems and processes that will keep us safe.

We are reminded about vigilance and why we must stay focused. We are reminded today about the impact of the second wave on our nation.

We are reminded about our role in keeping the virus at bay. We know what must be done.

We know why masks have to be worn correctly. We know why we must wash our hands often with soap and water.

We know the importance of physical distancing.

As we welcome our visitors, we are further reminded about why we must maintain safety as a priority, for our loved ones, our visitors, and our nation.

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