Fiji’s Covid-crippled economy sees half islands out of work

A non-government organisation in Fiji says the country is gripped by “panic” as a downturn in tourism has left half the working population out of a job.

While Fiji is currently virus-free, having only recorded 27 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths, the islands have been devastated by the collapse of the tourism industry, which employs around 150,000 people and fuels the nation’s economy.

Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), a local group that offers food and work support to those affected by the pandemic, said around half the country’s breadwinners are currently unemployed due to the pandemic and running out of options.

While the Fijian Government has offered assistance to workers in formal tourism jobs, informal workers such as taxi drivers, domestic workers, fishermen and farmers who also rely on tourism have no safety net, Radio New Zealand reported.

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