Fiji nightmare

flyfl

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Posts
40
I travelled to Fiji before Christmas and I was super excited to be travelling again after two years and looking forward to having a relaxing time in the island paradise. This is my first time to Fiji but it has become a nightmare.

I felt sick on day 3 after arriving here and couldn't get tested because there was no test kit at the resort and there is a guy sent from the capital to test tourists but he stays on a different island and it costs $550 to bring him to the island. I finally managed to get tested on day 5 and tested positive. I was feeling fine by day 7. I was isolating on my own accord before getting tested so that I didn't pass the virus to others. I asked the testing guy for a PCR test but he said they only do RAT to prove positive and so did the local hospital where I got tested to confirm I was positive again RAT only. They didn't provide a PCR test.

The hospital said I needed to isolate for 10 days and the other guy said 7. I did a RAT test 7 days after my positive result and tested negative. I left the island 9 days after my positive test and made my way to the capital to get a PCR test done before catching my flight back home. However my PCR came back positive. WHO says that some individuals might test positive for 12 weeks or more but not be infectious.
I still made my way to the airport in the hope that my negative RAT will be sufficient, this wasn't the case and I got prevented from leaving the country.
I have since been advised that I need to stay in the country for 14 more days from my PCR test which will make it a total of 29 days of isolation in Fiji and that the RAT test result isn't acceptable even though it is back home.
I have contacted the high commission and their advice is that I must stay for 14 days from the date of PCR and if I still test positive then the health officer of Fiji will need to write a letter of fit to fly home so that I can leave the country.
The fact that PCR wasn't available on the Island is my problem and not Fijian authorities or any common sense applied by the Australian government given that RAT is the recommended option back home.
I have also contacted the department of foreign affairs and home affairs in Canberra, however the switch board women were extremely rude and said I'll be committing a crime and could go to jail if I return to Australia, they didn't even listen to what I had to say and hang up.
Now I'm stuck here in Fiji to serve more time. This nightmare is really taking its toll on my mental health.

People wanting to come to Fiji, please be prepared for the madness that occurs here and make sure you are prepared to deal with it.
I strongly advise against travelling to Fiji as rules are made up on the fly and don't expect any help from our government.
 

Mattg

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I'm sorry to read this. Sounds like a nightmare. Did you have travel insurance and has this covered anything in terms of extra costs?

The lack of availability of a PCR test is a real problem. I have heard a few horror stories lately from people in other countries (not Fiji, but places like Italy and Ireland) where people had the virus but couldn't access a PCR test and therefore had to isolate for weeks on end.

It's a shame that DFAT was so unhelpful as well, although I've sadly come to expect this over the past two years.

Getting a positive COVID test and getting stuck somewhere is one of the biggest risks in travelling overseas at the moment and is the main reason I haven't yet done so since November - even though I really want to.

I hope you'll get home soon. At least now that you've had a PCR test, the 14-day countdown clock has started.
 

vicsta

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Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Posts
56
Sorry to hear that! My experience at the Fiji Sofitel a couple of weeks ago was much better (Much cleaner than Melbourne and their testing was quite organized) but so sorry about your bad luck there.

Look on the bright side though - there's much worse places you could be stuck. Everyone's catching Omicron back here in Australia! Hopefully your travel insurance will cover the money side of things and that you'll be able to get back soon.
 

aus_flyer

Established Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Posts
1,740
Sorry to hear that. I’m guessing you were staying at a smaller resort (or island) rather than one of the big hotels?
 

HappyFlyerFamily

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Posts
5,337
So sorry to hear your situation. Its a big shame the hospital wouldn't verify your infection off their RAT and give you a clearance certificate. I think travel insurance will give you a big headache for anything happening before the PCR.
 

flyfl

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Posts
40
Thanks for the kind words everyone.
I do have travel insurance with SCTI and they cover up to a maximum of $5k which is not enough given that I have missed work and had no leave to begin with, but it is there.
I knew the risk before deciding to travel, however I never thought the isolation would be more than 14 days.
The expectations to have a PCR when it is not possible is really insane, PCR isn't offered at all to prove a positive test in Fiji. I begged the hospital and the guy who tests tourists for a PCR but their answer was we don't do it. This was despite me offering to pay for it but their protocol didn't allow it.

I was on Taveuni island and staying at the largest resort on the island maybe. But they aren't your international chains.

I wish our governments requirement for Australians returning home was inline with the rules back at home somewhat.
 

N860CR

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Posts
5,191
The Fijians are plugging tourism in a big way, but what they really mean is “tourism at the big American/European resorts”.

They’re all offering onsite PCR testing with fairly fast turnarounds. This means if you do get pinged (as annoying as it is), you’re only stuck 14 days from then.

I do agree that it’s stupid that we require people to isolate 14 days when they’re overseas however a local “case” is good to go after 7.

It’s going to be quite the catch22. The government won’t change it until stories like this become commonplace, but stories like this won’t become commonplace because people are apprehensive to travel because of stories like this 🤪
 

oznflfan

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Apr 15, 2020
Posts
838
I'm sorry to read this. Sounds like a nightmare. Did you have travel insurance and has this covered anything in terms of extra costs?

The lack of availability of a PCR test is a real problem. I have heard a few horror stories lately from people in other countries (not Fiji, but places like Italy and Ireland) where people had the virus but couldn't access a PCR test and therefore had to isolate for weeks on end.

It's a shame that DFAT was so unhelpful as well, although I've sadly come to expect this over the past two years.

Getting a positive COVID test and getting stuck somewhere is one of the biggest risks in travelling overseas at the moment and is the main reason I haven't yet done so since November - even though I really want to.

I hope you'll get home soon. At least now that you've had a PCR test, the 14-day countdown clock has started.
Sorry to hear about your situation flyfl.

This is the exact reason I am not travelling even though I am desperate to travel this year.

PCR test to return will eventually go sometime in 2022, but when? 2023 European summer should be OK, surely.
 

Anna

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Jan 17, 2005
Posts
3,003
Really sorry to hear this story.

The other lesson some people will take from it is 'if you feel a bit sick and you're OS, don't tell anyone and don't get a test until you've got your ducks in a row in case it comes back positive'. Eg, don't get a test until it can be a PCR test. I'm not advocating this as a strategy but I'm sure this is what people will end up doing if following the govt rules lead to such awful outcomes.
 

dajop

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Jul 1, 2002
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13,553
Really sorry to hear this, it can be an awful feeling to be stuck somewhere, especially a place (I assume) you have no roots - as in family or other connections that live there.

The pre flight PCR test rules seem to be stuck in a time when Australia had a very small number of active cases. But now there are 700,000 documented active cases ..... it does seem not so necessary.
 

N860CR

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Posts
5,191
There’s really no way to justify pre-flight testing anymore.

Even the arguement that you don’t want a “covid positive” person on a plane doesn’t fly. It’s not needed for domestic flights, nor to step onto a bus or train.

Frustratingly, the mentality of “close the borders” within the community is causing ongoing problems.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2022
Posts
1
I travelled to Fiji before Christmas and I was super excited to be travelling again after two years and looking forward to having a relaxing time in the island paradise. This is my first time to Fiji but it has become a nightmare.

I felt sick on day 3 after arriving here and couldn't get tested because there was no test kit at the resort and there is a guy sent from the capital to test tourists but he stays on a different island and it costs $550 to bring him to the island. I finally managed to get tested on day 5 and tested positive. I was feeling fine by day 7. I was isolating on my own accord before getting tested so that I didn't pass the virus to others. I asked the testing guy for a PCR test but he said they only do RAT to prove positive and so did the local hospital where I got tested to confirm I was positive again RAT only. They didn't provide a PCR test.

The hospital said I needed to isolate for 10 days and the other guy said 7. I did a RAT test 7 days after my positive result and tested negative. I left the island 9 days after my positive test and made my way to the capital to get a PCR test done before catching my flight back home. However my PCR came back positive. WHO says that some individuals might test positive for 12 weeks or more but not be infectious.
I still made my way to the airport in the hope that my negative RAT will be sufficient, this wasn't the case and I got prevented from leaving the country.
I have since been advised that I need to stay in the country for 14 more days from my PCR test which will make it a total of 29 days of isolation in Fiji and that the RAT test result isn't acceptable even though it is back home.
I have contacted the high commission and their advice is that I must stay for 14 days from the date of PCR and if I still test positive then the health officer of Fiji will need to write a letter of fit to fly home so that I can leave the country.
The fact that PCR wasn't available on the Island is my problem and not Fijian authorities or any common sense applied by the Australian government given that RAT is the recommended option back home.
I have also contacted the department of foreign affairs and home affairs in Canberra, however the switch board women were extremely rude and said I'll be committing a crime and could go to jail if I return to Australia, they didn't even listen to what I had to say and hang up.
Now I'm stuck here in Fiji to serve more time. This nightmare is really taking its toll on my mental health.

People wanting to come to Fiji, please be prepared for the madness that occurs here and make sure you are prepared to deal with it.
I strongly advise against travelling to Fiji as rules are made up on the fly and don't expect any help from our government.
This is a horror story. I am booked to go to Fiji in July. Not sure now. I hope it will work out for you
 

Pushka

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I'm so sorry. Keep strong. You will get through this.
Really sorry to hear this story.

The other lesson some people will take from it is 'if you feel a bit sick and you're OS, don't tell anyone and don't get a test until you've got your ducks in a row in case it comes back positive'. Eg, don't get a test until it can be a PCR test. I'm not advocating this as a strategy but I'm sure this is what people will end up doing if following the govt rules lead to such awful outcomes.
I guess that's why Health departments are making access to RAT so hard so we can't manage situations like this.
 

Vic

Established Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Posts
1,217
Looking at the exempt countries for pre-departure testing for international arrivals, I think the lesson here is to go to vanuatu, samoa or tonga.

If the Fijian government is so desperate for tourists, maybe they need to know their competitors are better options because of the Fiji testing regime.

I'm so sorry. Keep strong. You will get through this.

I guess that's why Health departments are making access to RAT so hard so we can't manage situations like this.
what's the old adage, believe incompetence over conspiracy. The fact is the government is incompetent, and have been for years. just a shame it takes a crisis to highlight the obvious failings of the clowns people have been voting in for years.
There isn't some secret little government conspiracy to prevent people managing situations like these. The politicians just didn't bother to buy the stock of tests, when they've known for months they'd need them.
 

Mattg

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Looking at the exempt countries for pre-departure testing for international arrivals, I think the lesson here is to go to vanuatu, samoa or tonga.

Are those other destinations actually open though and actively welcoming tourists? I'm fairly sure the borders of Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa are still closed and/or they have mandatory quarantine on arrival.
 

Vic

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Jan 31, 2017
Posts
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Are those other destinations actually open though and actively welcoming tourists? I'm fairly sure the borders of Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa are still closed and/or they have mandatory quarantine on arrival.
No idea if they're open. Just seems the discrepancy in testing requirements would make them more attractive destination. Fiji is on the 96 hour pre-test list, a clear acknowledgement that in country testing has problems. It just points to some bureaucrat making up rules without thinking them through...
 

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