Fiji rejects lockdown calls as virus cases soar

Fiji dismissed calls for a hard lockdown Friday as Covid-19 cases reached record levels in the Pacific island nation, insisting a “no jab, no job” vaccination push would contain the virus.

The troubled tropical paradise has been devastated by a runaway outbreak of the Delta variant which began in April, ending a year without local transmission and quashing hopes the vital tourism sector could reopen.

Latest official figures revealed there were 1,405 new cases in the 24 hours to Friday, giving the country of 930,000 one of the world’s highest per capita infection rates.

Opposition leaders and welfare groups have called for strict stay-at-home orders but the government has resisted, arguing the economic cost would be too high.

Instead, it has introduced a hardline vaccination drive dubbed “no jabs, no job”, which makes inoculations compulsory for all workers.

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