28 July, 2021
The Fiji Corrections Service moved its COVID Protocols up a notch from the months between April to August.
Commissioner Commander Francis Kean said giving inmates, officers and family members full coverage was made possible with the assistance of the Ministry of Health Officials.
“We thank MOH for their diligence and recognition of our need to give those under our Care and our personnel special attention because of the risk they face in living in
or working in closed conditions,’’ said Commander Kean.
Commander Kean said the level of urgency that the FCS has undertaken is all due to the prevention of a possible surge inside prison walls.
“We also have an elderly population that we have to be cautious about as they are the high risk group in this pandemic as we have all witnessed to date.”
“So we actually requested for mass vaccination drives inside our Prisons for inmates and personnel including family members of FCS personnel inside the compounds and those who live-out. And we are glad that we have had no resistance from within in refusing vaccination.”
By the time the authorities announced a National State of Emergency on May 5, FCS had already closed its doors to the public and stopped movement into and out of each Corrections Center.
The outside labor movement for those under the care of the FCS has to be stopped during the high risk months from May- August 2021 to protect the Prison population.
Outside labor specifically for burial operations resumed in mid-August after inmates received their second jab full cover.
The full coverage of inmates ensured that burials could move back to not only normal operations but moved up a notch to cater for the demand of burials as deaths hit an all-time high at the height of the pandemic in the Central Division.
The vaccinations also ensured that the annual Cane-Cutting operation which was to began as usual in the month of July, the same time it has been for the last five years since the FCS began its Musu Dovu Operations.
Commander Kean commended the men and women of FCS for holding it together during this trying period and holding their ground even though it required them to be away from their families.
“I pay tribute to the men and women of the Service for their perseverance during this hard times and for maintaining our strict COVID Protocols.
“I understand that many have lost loved ones and friends during this pandemic, such has been the experience of many – but it is important that we keep our guards up for our safety, for the safety of those under our care and most importantly our families.”