Letters to the Editor – March 31, 2020

A reader reads through the letters to the editor column of The Fiji Times newspaper. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Let’s take heed of advice

As we approach the last day of a dreadful March, I urge my fellow Fijians to adhere to advice given by relevant authorities. I must commend the Health Ministry workers, especially the doctors, nurses and midwives during the COVID-19 crisis. For a developing country such as Fiji, with limited health resources so far having contained the COVID-19 cases to five, is an achievement. We have done well compared to our neighbours Australia and New Zealand where the number of patients, who tested positive with COVID-19, has increased significantly. NZ also recorded its first death in relation to COVID-19. In Fiji so far, 330 suspected cases were recorded negative for COVID-19 and this shows that the bulk of us are adhering to advice given by proper authorities. Last night, there was a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am. This curfew will continue until further notice and I’m positive that people will adhere to restrictions placed as a result of the curfew. PM Voreqe Bainimarama in his address requested his countrymen not to be complacent and this message must be taken seriously. In yesterday’s editorial titled “Understand social distancing”, our editor-in-chief Fred Wesley did not mince his words, “We have an obligation to do what is safe. The ultimate goal should be focused on staying safe. We must continue to be vigilant and proactive. Lives depend on that” . Words of wisdom if we take them in a positive and meaningful way! God bless Fiji! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

No new cases

Our Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama stated that after testing 330 suspected cases, there were no more new COVID-19 cases in Fiji. Many of the 330 tested were those in contact with the first five positive cases and all returned negative (FT:30/03). So it now seems like Government has managed to contain the problem and the five positive cases are in stable condition. If this is so, then maybe there should be no nationwide curfew. What difference does it make by having people free to move around between 5am to 10pm but not between 10pm and 5am? While it is understandable that we cannot afford to lose lives from COVID-19, we also need to understand that we need to move on with life as early as possible. It’s important that the economy gets going again and with no new cases and no deaths so far maybe we can ease up on restrictions. Just saying! Simon Hazelman Rava Estate, Savusavu

Loan repayments

Banks have come forward with six months deferred payment option for mortgages and loans. This includes interest plus principal. What we need to know is whether banks will be capitalising interest during this six-month period. If they don’t capitalise interest, then the incentive of $400 million announced by the A-G makes sense. If interest rate is capitalised, then periodic payments or term of loan may increase. This would mean Fijians will need to pay more for short-term relief. I urge the banks to come forward and explain this bit. I would have appreciated if all loans were frozen and opening balance after six months would be the same as today. Krishneel Reddy Lautoka

Payment mode

I am wondering if FNPF can provide employers a payment channel whereby employers can make direct payments for their online contributions. This would help to keep crowd numbers down and assist in social distancing at their branches. Even if FNPF cannot get a payment channel sorted out quickly, then maybe advise employers of a bank account number that we can make payment via the internet with the invoice number as the narrative. For a billion dollar organisation, I am thinking that this should not be too difficult. To line up at the cashiers during this time, only increases further exposure for many employers when transactions could have been done from the office or from home. Conan Hatch Namaka, Nadi

Ceasefire call

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has in recent weeks (FT 25/3/2020) called for global ceasefire so that countries could divert resources to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. In his own words: “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.” However, there seems to be silence and no response from COVID-19 afflicted countries and world powers such as US, China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Not to mention international peacekeeping countries such as Fiji. COVID-19 is seen perhaps as diversion or distraction from what is seen as the normal occupation of war-mongering nations. And the call has gone unheeded with no response from world leaders. COVID-19 as we are seeing today does not care about nationality, ethnicity or other differences between people and attacks all relentlessly. A change of mindset is a necessity in the world today. In this Lenten season as we look ahead facing Holy Week and Easter, Christian churches across the world need to pray: “Lord, we come with broken hopes and broken dreams, with broken relationships and broken hearts, with broken promises and broken trust, we come as despairing, shattered people. We badly need your grace to be healed and made whole.” THE REV AKUILA YABAKI, Suva

Unfortunate case

It is unfortunate that the Minister for Health, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, had to declare in public confidential information of a patient during his speech in Parliament. Whether what he revealed is the truth or not does not matter at this stage but I believe he had put the patient at risk with what he revealed and now the patient and his family are being cyberbullied by many. The question is; what has happened to patient confidentiality? I believe what Dr Waqainabete has done will make many patients lose confidence in doctors and nurses for they know that information about them can be revealed in public at any time. Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Sunday’s update

After Sunday’s update by the Government on TV, I am thankful there is no new case. Many people look forward to the lifting of the border checkpoints to return to work. I hope they will have cash to pay for bus fare. I totally agree with the curfew. We have people who don’t seem to care about the restrictions. We have a few days left of the lockdown. Let’s make it work. If the number of cases do not rise, it will be an achievement. Allen Lockington Lockdown Lautoka

No recent case

It is good news that no recent case has arrived of COVID-19 in the past few days. While it is a bit early to feel relieved, it is good to know that if all goes well, the lockout may be withdrawn. It is something most are waiting for eagerly. This COVID-19 has turned the whole world around and has also given many lessons to the people. Let’s hope everyone is making the most of their family time and trying to turn this negative scenario into positives by taking the good and making the best of it. We cannot do much right now except to keep safe and pray. This time will pass surely and while it will take time, things will surely be normalised. Let’s not be discouraged. Let’s just go with the flow as “we cannot change the direction of the wind, but can adjust to sail in it accordingly”. Life will only get easier if we understand this is the way it is right now and only our understanding, patience and dedication in doing things right will make it better for us and our world. Kirti Patel Lautoka

Arrest the disease

As all Fijians should be, I am fully behind Governments initiatives to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in Fiji. However, social distancing is being poorly practised, particularly outside banks, as part of I assume, getting relevant information for FNPF withdrawals. In Nadi yesterday morning, one bank was ensuring social distancing and was temperature monitoring those wishing to enter. Another bank had a huge unruly lineup outside and no attempts were made to ensure social distancing or temperature monitoring that I could see. Where were the authorities? We are shooting ourselves in the foot here. Allan Loosley Tavua

FNPF the one

Next election I am voting for FNPF. Moses Mani Auckland, New Zealand

Sky Pacific

Haven’t heard anything from Sky Pacific about reduction or waivering the monthly subscription. Come on Sky Pacific, let your customers know? Krishneel Reddy Lautoka

Times’ article

The article in The Fiji Times (28/3) on page 36 should be an inspiration for all of us to start our own backyard garden. Thank you Ofa Vuto for sharing your story with us and hope more people will start gardening with whatever back yard they have. Nardeo Mishra Suva

School holiday

It is understandable that the Ministry of Education had to call for an early school holiday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. My God! It is so boring at home. Just trying to complete the school work assigned and scrolling through social media all day long. Please good Lord take away COVID-19! Raynav Chand Nakasi

Calculated move

I believe all civil servants must give it to the government of the day. Government has taken a bold step in continuing to pay the civil servants without any pay cut during these unprecedented times. On the other hand, a number of businesses in the private sector have reduced the hours, number of days worked and some even have laid off workers. In my assessment, the government has adopted a very calculated approach by holding a high moral ground to sustain the livelihood of these government employees. Pranil Ram Votulalevu, Nadi

Fund balances

Just this year, there were statistics presented about the large number of FNFP members who have very low balances. It is because of the fact that savings for retirement are over relied on way before retirement. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka


In the more than 10 years of economic growth, I believe our inability to sustain ourselves remains. The plan to grow our own and reduce imports continues as such, just a plan. The question is when will they be serious? Dan Urai Lautoka

Lockdown blues

What, where, why, who are you, who am I, where are we? Nigel Fiu Owls Perch, Lautoka

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