The Ministry of Health is preparing for the lifting of international travel restrictions, and other social and workplace engagement restrictions.

However, Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong says a number of countries have seen an increased number of cases with the relaxation of restrictions.

Dr Fong says there will always be people vulnerable to the virus even if the vaccination coverage is increased.

One-third of Fiji’s population under 18 years will soon be eligible for vaccination.

He adds Fiji has older people with comorbidities whose ability to build up vaccine immunity is not as good as younger and healthier persons.

He stresses the key to avoiding future restrictions and lockdowns is for the public to remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedom they will enjoy.

Dr Fong highlighted that while the easing of restrictions is needed to facilitate social and economic livelihood, the public must ensure that together with vaccination, everyone continues to observe their COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds.

He adds the potential for transmission in any community will be slower, and the ability to contain the outbreak better, when Fiji achieves a high vaccination rate and also maintains strict adherence to COVID safe measures.