Fiji nightmare

ketsuzei

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Sorry to hijack a thread, but I've been tasked with dealing with family overseas tonight so thought this may be of interest to those planning to head to Fiji.

I've been speaking at length with the "sick person" and their partner. Basically, the hotel in Fiji at the moment has an "isolation wing" that is currently made up of split couples (ie: husband/wife is postive, wife/husband is negative). Hotel is charging $550PN for the "isolation" room on top of whatever the partner is paying for the hotel room. Apparently, not a single person in the resort is physically sick, they're just testing "positive" on their return to Australian PCR (but negative on their arrival in Fiji PCR). The couple I'm talking to were on a 4 day trip so the RAT/PCR were simultaneous. Amazingly, different results.

The atmosphere in the resort is apparently absolutely toxic. The staff are simply saying to the "sick" people "it doesn't matter, your insurance covers it" and there is zero actual care being provided. There's a doctor in the resort at the moment who is kicking up a stink because his wife is "positive" and he is 110% sure the property is running an insurance scam. PCR testing is being charged at about $300 a go (so double the market rate) and there is real pushback to offering a second test for "confirmation". Apparently "isolation" guests are being treated like lepers. God help them if anyone is actually sick and needing care.

Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck....
Travel can be tough when you have to factor nonsensical third world policies into the equation.

And then there’s the Fiji aspect, too.
 

henrus

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I was thinking Fiji might be an option later in the year but after reading this thread it's just confirmed why it's not the best option right now.

Hotel is charging $550PN for the "isolation" room on top of whatever the partner is paying for the hotel room
I'm curious about this, is it FJD550 per night?
The staff are simply saying to the "sick" people "it doesn't matter, your insurance covers it" and there is zero actual care being provided. There's a doctor in the resort at the moment who is kicking up a stink because his wife is "positive" and he is 110% sure the property is running an insurance scam.
This is where I wonder what insurance people have. The Fijian tourism website seems to be pushing some product but it says only up to 1800 FJD, does this leave people out of pocket (a lot)?

 

N860CR

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I'm curious about this, is it FJD550 per night?

Yes it is. They're stuck with this for 7 days (as they're locked up) and then moving to a cheaper hotel.

This is where I wonder what insurance people have. The Fijian tourism website seems to be pushing some product but it says only up to 1800 FJD, does this leave people out of pocket (a lot)?

I'm not sure either to be honest. This couple is wearing the bill as Allianz have wiped their hands of it. I'm not sure if any other company is providing better cover, but even I threw up an eyebrow when they assumed insurance would pay.
 

henrus

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This couple is wearing the bill as Allianz have wiped their hands of it
I'd push that, I had a look at this PDS and see no reason why it wouldn't be covered. When I travelled recently I was under the assumption that additional expenses such as extra time in a hotel due to testing positive would have been covered.
 

N860CR

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I'd push that, I had a look at this PDS and see no reason why it wouldn't be covered. When I travelled recently I was under the assumption that additional expenses such as extra time in a hotel due to testing positive would have been covered.

I'll have another look in the morning. They called Allianz prior to departing (Westpac credit card insurance) and were told all was good. Policy document was issued (looks like a newish thing for Westpac) however they're now wiping their hands. It'll be a fight when they get back home...
 

henrus

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They called Allianz prior to departing (Westpac credit card insurance) and were told all was good. Policy document was issued (looks like a newish thing for Westpac) however they're now wiping their hands.
Oh that's my mistake, when you said Allianz I assumed that they had purchased a policy directly from Allianz, as their current polices purchased directly from them should provide cover for isolation expenses (as falls under additional expenses) up to $50,000 per person. This is mentioned in the direct PDS and COVID-19 is specifically discussed.

Allianz (direct) PDS -> https://allianzassistancetravel.com.au/onex/api/document/pds/allianztravelcf/

The Westpac PDS is different and specifically excludes pandemics (with zero mention of covid in the PDS).

This is the westpac PDS I could find online -> https://www.westpac.com.au/content/...r_Credit_Card_Comp_Insurance_Allianz_2021.pdf

However Westpac does have this page basically saying that pandemics aren't covered but to receive a "formal outcome" you have to apply (what ever that means).


What I'm then confused about (and perhaps why the hotel is saying insurance will cover it), is technically any foreign national entering Fiji must show proof of insurance that covers covid-19 whilst travelling. This is actually listed in timatic as an entry requirement and therefore it is up to the airline (which airline did they fly?) to check that each traveller has insurance that will cover covid-19 expenses.

Obviously the hotel is charging a rather excessive FJ$550 per night so FJ$3850 total and the travel insurance isn't required to cover all of this as the Fiji tourism website points towards an insurance provider called Fiji Care who are charging US$39 per trip (no time limit) with coverage of up to FJ$1800 for extra accomodation, and FJ$500 for extra tests.
 

N860CR

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What I'm then confused about (and perhaps why the hotel is saying insurance will cover it), is technically any foreign national entering Fiji must show proof of insurance that covers covid-19 whilst travelling. This is actually listed in timatic as an entry requirement and therefore it is up to the airline (which airline did they fly?) to check that each traveller has insurance that will cover covid-19 expenses.

Obviously the hotel is charging a rather excessive FJ$550 per night so FJ$3850 total and the travel insurance isn't required to cover all of this as the Fiji tourism website points towards an insurance provider called Fiji Care who are charging US$39 per trip (no time limit) with coverage of up to FJ$1800 for extra accomodation, and FJ$500 for extra tests.

No argument from me there. I was fairly sure it wouldn't be covered, but they called Allianz prior to departure and were told it was ok. I was pushing for a separate Covermore policy...

Westpac apparently now actually issue a certificate of cover (like CBA do). You input your travel details and it spits out a policy document.
 

henrus

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but they called Allianz prior to departure and were told it was ok
Wonder if they got that in writing?

I was pushing for a separate Covermore policy...
Looks like for 2 people for up to 5 days it's $79. It'd be interesting to ask covermore (and other providers) if they cover this sort of extra expense in Fiji once covid positive. If so then I guess they could become the AFF recommended for travel to Fiji.

I'm genuinely curious by all this having just returned from Europe. I got a covermore policy and on first reading I somehow came up with the value of $100 per night in my head for all they'd cover in regards to extra accommodation if I tested positive. No idea where I got that number from becuase on 2nd reading it looks like they just say "reasonable expenses".

Westpac apparently now actually issue a certificate of cover (like CBA do). You input your travel details and it spits out a policy document.
That's the other thing I'm confused about, I had the privilege on boxing day of watching the Fiji airways check in process at Brisbane airport (waited ~2hrs for a PCR test). They were very specific in checking for negative test, CFC hotel booking and travel insurance covering covid. I watched a few turned away for not having the right documents so unless the westpac issued certificate did have mention of covid then technically the airline shouldn't have checked them in.
 

N860CR

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That's the other thing I'm confused about, I had the privilege on boxing day of watching the Fiji airways check in process at Brisbane airport (waited ~2hrs for a PCR test). They were very specific in checking for negative test, CFC hotel booking and travel insurance covering covid. I watched a few turned away for not having the right documents so unless the westpac issued certificate did have mention of covid then technically the airline shouldn't have checked them in.

From what I can see, it's just a certificate of cover for the dates and destination. I went to Fiji myself at Christmas time and just used my Covermore annual policy.
 
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BAM1748

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Read any insurance policy wording and it's a "promise to pay" not a "guarantee to pay". Covid problems are foreseeable so put in the hard work and good luck extracting the money. Make sure you have extra funds when you go overseas.
 

larrymull

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This is exactly what happened to me and my family. My youngest son and I are back but my wife and eldest son are still there. My boy got Covid, you wouldn’t even notice as he hasn’t stopped running around. The nightmare began from there, and the incompetence on both sides of government are mind boggling. Covid now really is a management problem handled extremely badly!

Being in a 3rd world country, with these government restrictions and issues is like
Playing Russian Roulette, you never know what bullet is in the chamber.
 

ladynextdoor

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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.
Hi - I'm sorry to hear about all your problems with PCR tests and the unexpected extended stay. While we all joke that Fiji wouldn't be a bad place to be isolated, I'm sure the reality of being stuck in a room for weeks would be mentally challenging to say the least. We arrived home after a week's stay on 3rd January and our resort on Denarau Island offered PCR tests for a fee. Just looking at the result page and it was Van Med Labs in Suva, but they show a lab in Nadi on their website. They were reasonably efficient but the staff said they felt over worked. My negative result came back twice with spelling errors in my name which wasn't ideal, but thankfully it was sorted before our flight. Hope you manage to get home soon. Sending best wishes.
 

Vic

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My understanding is PCR testing prior to arrival to Australia is an Australian government requirement and the only reason Vanuatu / Samoa / Tonga are exempt from pre-departure testing into Australia was getting a PCR test in these countries is very difficult i.e. the Fijian government isn't stipulating this test, our government is.

Why the feds haven't moved to RAT tests for pre-departure when we are using RAT for post international arrivals is beyond me.

The fijian government controls the decision by the testing guy to not do a PCR test. Given they know Australia stipulates a PCR test, the testing guy should be doing a pcr Not telling the OP Fiji Gov policy is RAT only. The OP even offered to pay for the PCR. As per Mattg, the issue is not ahving access to PCR testing, that's a Fiji problem. Confirmed by OP below as well

The issue is that they never had access to a PCR test in the first place. It's a bureaucratic nightmare.

Thankyou all once again.
Just to clarify that if you are on the main island there is no issues in getting a PCR test and most resorts provide this on site. However if you are on one of the other islands that is when you are in trouble.
To give you a bit more info, there is a dive shop and a resort owned by an American family in Taveuni, the owner was also lobbying on my behalf and was pretty upset with the testing guy but we couldn't get him to do a PCR.

The PCR requirement is 72 hrs though Australia allows them out to 96 hrs by exemption.
96 hrs for Fiji and a handful of other countries...

Not technically an exemption, But lets avoid the grammar thread
 

N860CR

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Just as a followup, the "positive" guest made a lot of noise and the resort agreed to a RAT this morning. Came in dressed like they were about to go for a walk on the moon, did the RAT; negative. I know a PCR could theoretically pickup a historical case that a RAT can miss, but the PCR in Sydney a week ago would have done that.

I've been speaking with a Fiji travel specialist this morning. Apparently this is causing them a lot of headaches and numerous people are going through the same thing. Story is always the same, one member of the couple "positive" on the return to Australia PCR. Thus far, not a report of a single actual sick person. Another couple took RATs from Australia and were doing tests every morning. Each was negative, but one PCR was of course positive. Common theme; Marriott.
 

larrymull

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We returned from the IC on the 8th. It was fantastic and was dealing with Covid well. The IC was only doing tests between 8.30am and 12.30pm and are struggling to turn PCRs around in 48hours (96 hrs recommended) so the PCR on return could be problematic (if still required at that time)
You were lucky to get out, we got locked up plus another 65 people.
 

Vic

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RAT has a 70 to 90% false negative rate, depending on who made it.
Between 1 and 3 in 10 people could test negative on RAT and turn out positive on PCR.

not to dismiss the Marriott making money theory...
 

larrymull

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Just as a followup, the "positive" guest made a lot of noise and the resort agreed to a RAT this morning. Came in dressed like they were about to go for a walk on the moon, did the RAT; negative. I know a PCR could theoretically pickup a historical case that a RAT can miss, but the PCR in Sydney a week ago would have done that.

I've been speaking with a Fiji travel specialist this morning. Apparently this is causing them a lot of headaches and numerous people are going through the same thing. Story is always the same, one member of the couple "positive" on the return to Australia PCR. Thus far, not a report of a single actual sick person. Another couple took RATs from Australia and were doing tests every morning. Each was negative, but one PCR was of course positive. Common theme; Marriott.
And the IC.
 

kamchatsky

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Just as a followup, the "positive" guest made a lot of noise and the resort agreed to a RAT this morning. Came in dressed like they were about to go for a walk on the moon, did the RAT; negative. I know a PCR could theoretically pickup a historical case that a RAT can miss, but the PCR in Sydney a week ago would have done that.

I've been speaking with a Fiji travel specialist this morning. Apparently this is causing them a lot of headaches and numerous people are going through the same thing. Story is always the same, one member of the couple "positive" on the return to Australia PCR. Thus far, not a report of a single actual sick person. Another couple took RATs from Australia and were doing tests every morning. Each was negative, but one PCR was of course positive. Common theme; Marriott.

This is horrible …. Almost like a cartel to ensure that Aussies stimulates more of Fiji’s economy ….. it is stuff like this that scares me to take my family for overseas holiday. I think it will be another 12 months before these PCR RAT requirements would cease.
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RAT has a 70 to 90% false negative rate, depending on who made it.
Between 1 and 3 in 10 people could test negative on RAT and turn out positive on PCR.

not to dismiss the Marriott making money theory...

I doubt it is Marriott the corporate company doing this. But the individual hotels instead …..
 

Tiki

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And the IC.
Wow just saw Trip Advisor IC review, a family of 4 all positive.
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This is horrible …. Almost like a cartel to ensure that Aussies stimulates more of Fiji’s economy ….. it is stuff like this that scares me to take my family for overseas holiday. I think it will be another 12 months before these PCR RAT requirements would cease.
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I doubt it is Marriott the corporate company doing this. But the individual hotels instead …..
This would be the dumbest ever revenue raising. Keep one family hostage for 2 weeks, scare off 100 others who cancel.
 

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