Editorial comment – Keep the distance

Pallbearers carry the coffin of the 66-year-old man who passed away because of the coronavirus-ralted complications for burial at the Tavakubu Cemetery in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND.

On Saturday the 66-year-old man who died because of coronavirus-related complications was accorded final rites by close family members in Lautoka.

He died on Thursday evening at the Lautoka Hospital where he was in isolation.

The man was from Labasa and had returned from India on July 1 after a heart bypass surgery.

As we reported yesterday, his son, who is also in isolation, told The Fiji Times on Friday his late father was looking forward to going home.

The man was accorded final rites at the Tavakubu Cemetery in the presence of Ministry of Health staff members.

We are reminded there are World Health Organization guidelines to follow when farewelling a loved one.

This was our first death from COVID-19 complications.

A couple of factors stand out. We are considered a COVID-19 contained country, according to the Government.

While we have a number of cases, however, all are in quarantine facilities, effectively keeping the virus away from the public.

The Minister for Health, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, has reiterated this in press conferences.

Our first registered death happened in quarantine. We are reassured that the virus is not outside the facilities.

We are buoyed by the revelation that we have managed to contain it.

That should inch out confidence. Our challenge is great though.

We must contain it, and we must ensure we are vigilant and proactive.

Our challenge is to adhere to social distancing rules.

That means being mindful of where we are, keeping a safe distance when out in public.

Do not touch your face anytime you are out in public.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue and dispose this thoughtfully, safely immediately.

There are issues we will have to consider changing, from shaking hands and hugging.

It is difficult given the fact that we have grown up with the habit, but change is inevitable.

It must happen for the sake of our nation, and for our loved ones.

There are reasons why we must strictly adhere to social distancing rules. There is no vaccine yet.

The only way we can keep the virus at bay is to ensure we do not catch it.

It becomes a critical part of the fight against the virus. Let’s stay on course Fiji.

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