Fiji had initially been a COVID-19 containment success story, avoiding widespread outbreaks for the first year of the pandemic. Then the Delta variant appeared in April, and now the island nation has the world’s highest number of infections per capita.
Shirleen Ali, CARE’s Gender and Resilience Advisor in Fiji, said:
“Over the past month we’ve seen a tidal wave of COVID-19 cases here in Fiji. Fear is growing, but some people are still not taking the virus seriously and are gathering in large groups, for example to drink kava or alcohol.
“Fiji had no major outbreaks last year, but now we have the world’s most COVID-19 cases per capita. This highlights how the virus has shifted from high-income countries to low-income countries, where the capacity to cope with it is so much lower.
“The death of two pregnant women from COVID-19 this week has shown just how severe the outbreak is, particularly for women. Women, people living in poverty, elderly people, people with a disability, LGBTI+ people and any combination of these groups are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis.
“CARE’s partner organizations Live and Learn Fiji, ADRA Fiji, Rainbow Pride Foundation and Fiji Disabled People’s Federation have been providing food relief and other support to vulnerable communities.
“Fijians have shown extraordinary resilience, but COVID-19 is a global problem and there’s only so much we can do alone. The international community must take urgent action to ensure this virus does not roll back generations of progress towards equality, in Fiji and around the world.”
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