Fiji's opposition leader slams Government over 'failed' handling of COVID-19

Fiji's opposition leader has slammed the Government, saying it's failed Fijians as the country's COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen. 

There were 308 new cases on Friday - their highest daily number since the pandemic began - but the Ministry of Health is still ruling out a lockdown. 

With each new day, COVID-19 is spreading at a dangerous rate in the Island nation. 

Its impact hurting the most vulnerable.

Save the Children Fiji chief executive Shairana Ali says families are going hungry.

"It's a very dire situation right now, both social and economic as well as health for the families."

New Zealanders raised more than $100,000 for those families, the group delivering food parcels to help get them through, but not everyone can be reached.

"The fact is everyone's resources are constrained and we had hoped by now we would be in a better position, but unfortunately that is not the case, so we are trying as best we can to reach as many families as possible," Ali says.

Following the record number of daily cases on Friday, Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the worst is yet to come. 

"The metrics that my team uses to assess on a regular basis all indicate that we will see higher increases in daily case numbers." 

On its current trajectory, Fiji is looking at 700 new cases each day, but despite repeated calls, a lockdown is not on the cards.

"If I believed there was a medical case to be made for a 24-hour curfew for 28 days for all of Viti Levu, I’d advise the Prime Minister directly," says Dr Fong.

Opposition leader Biman Prasad says the Government is failing its people.

"Lockdown doesn't necessarily mean people are locked down in their houses, like in New Zealand you are allowed to access food and medicines.. that's the kind of lockdown we're calling for.

"This government is so arrogant, it doesn't care, it's a case of failed leadership at the top. The Prime Minister and Minister of Economy are missing in action."

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has been quiet this week but on Friday did encourage people to get vaccinated posting a picture of his second jab to social media - while his country grapples with a deadly outbreak.