Fiji set to welcome international visitors that are fully vaccinated

Meeting a vaccination target early has reopened Fiji’s borders three weeks ahead of schedule.

More than 80 per cent of adults required to ease restrictions received their two doses of Covid-19 vaccine by Saturday.

The milestone has allowed the government to overturn a ban on international visitors earlier than the deadline of November.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced a series of changes on Sunday afternoon despite Fiji recording 40 Covid-positive cases that weekend.

“I’m grateful to everyone who’s rolled up their sleeves to help make Fiji safe,” he tweeted.

“I’ll announce the easing of Covid restrictions at home and our plan to reopen Fiji to the world.”

Fijian government officials said in September that a “green list” of locations including Australia, New Zealand and parts of the United States would be free to holiday on the islands.

Visitors must be fully vaccinated and test negative for Covid-19 before departure under the plan.

They would be restricted to stay in designated zones where only fully vaccinated hospitality staff and tourism operators would come into contact with visitors.

Fiji Airlines vaccine
Fiji is readying to welcome international visitors after passing a vaccination target earlier than expected.

But Fiji Airways announced on Monday that the national carrier will not be open for business until December 1.

Plans are afloat to adjust its planned schedule “accordingly” should destinations remain closed for international travel past its return date.

The airline’s first flight will be to Australian and New Zealand destinations in a move to revive the tourism industry to the Pacific but to also redress Fiji’s rising poverty since the last flight from Sydney in March 2020.

Fiji Airways will launch 14 flights a week between Nadi and Sydney on its new Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Daily flights to Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland are scheduled while trips can be made from Christchurch three times a week and Wellington twice a week.

Fiji was free of Covid-19 for a year until the arrival of the Delta variant in April.

The outbreak’s case numbers peaked in July, recording more than 1,200 new infections daily.

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