Fiji maintains border opening despite omicron variant

Niños pasan en una balsa de bambú por la Costa de Coral de Fiyi, en esta foto de archivo del 11 de noviembre de 2003 (AFP/TORSTEN BLACKWOOD)

Fiji will continue with its plans to reopen its borders to international visitors on Wednesday despite the threat of the omicron variant of COVID-19, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced.

Fiji had set December 1 as the day it would once again admit foreign visitors to boost its economy, dependent on tourism and devastated since the pandemic forced the borders to close in March last year.

Bainimarama told parliament that the omicron variant would not change plans and that he would personally go to receive the first Fiji Airways flight from Australia on Wednesday morning.

“We continue to emerge from this horrible pandemic that we have suffered and are only just beginning to recover from the economic devastation,” he told parliament on Monday.

The omicron variant shook world markets and led some countries to tighten their border controls, such as Israel and Japan that closed their doors to international travelers.

Fiji tightened restrictions on arrivals from South Africa but did not change the rules for countries that often send tourists to the idyllic Pacific country.

These include Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and France, as well as other countries where the variant has already been detected, such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Bainimarama said he is confident that with 90% of the adult population vaccinated, Fiji will be able to contain any coronavirus outbreak as long as strict sanitary protocols are observed.

Visitors must have a full vaccination and present negative test for covid-19.

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