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Coronavirus live news: global deaths near 500,000 as Australian state of Victoria steps up efforts to fight outbreak | World news


After months of strict Covid-19 lockdowns and resolutely closed borders, Fiji is open – for billionaires.

The prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, has announced the country is looking to attract “VIPs” to help restore Fiji’s paralysed tourism-dependent economy.

“So, say you’re a billionaire looking to fly your own jet, rent your own island, and invest millions of dollars in Fiji in the process. If you’ve taken all the necessary health precautions and borne all associated costs, you may have a new home to escape the pandemic in paradise,” the prime minister said in a remarkably frank tweet.

Bainimarama said the country would also welcome travellers arriving by yacht who were prepared to spend 14 days at sea – or make up the balance in quarantine in Fiji.

The country’s attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has announced the first planeload of 30 “high-net-worth individuals… from a very well-known company” were set to arrive by private plane in the archipelago nation on Sunday.

“We already have one group coming,” Sayed-Khaiyum said during a national budget consultation. “We just did the approval … for the flight to come in, and they’ll be spending three months here. There’s about 30 of them, and a very well-known company they are coming from.

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Victoria, Australia considering roadblocks and checkpoints

In Australia, the Herald Sun reports this morning that roadblocks and checkpoints are being considered by Victorian authorities, should coronavirus continue to spread from multiple suburban clusters.

Victoria has a number of suburbs where authorities have recorded high rates of community transmission. The state reported 41 new cases on Saturday, amid fears the state was experiencing a potential second wave of coronavirus.

In its efforts to curtail a second spike in the infection rate, the state has ramped up its testing efforts.

But the Herald Sun report raises concern that people in “hotspot” suburbs continue to travel around Melbourne, and that more drastic action could include roadblocks designed to restrict people from leaving their suburb without good reason.

Tasmania implemented road closures and ID checkpoints during an outbreak of coronavirus in that state’s north-east in April.


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