Urban-Rural Compliance Variability to COVID-19 Restrictions of Indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) Funerals in Fiji

Vave, Ron
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Research on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has focused primarily on impacts in Western societies despite emerging evidence of increased vulnerability among indigenous peoples such as Pacific Islanders. Using Facebook public posts, this research assessed compliance to COVID-19 restrictions such as social gatherings (SG) and social distancing (SD) in non-COVID-19, indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) funerals in Fiji. Results showed 95% of the 20 funerals exceeding SG limits with greater, and highly variable crowd sizes in rural than urban communities. Additionally, 75% of the 20 funerals did not adhere to the 2-m SD requirement of which 80% were in rural areas. Higher SG and SD compliance in urban funerals could be partially explained by the presence of a recognized authority who enforced crowd size limits, and the heterogeneous urban community who were more likely to flag breaches than their collectivistic, homogeneous, close-knit, rural counterparts. Ultimately, health authorities need to utilize a social lens that incorporates etic and emic differences in culture to ensure maximum compliance.
COVID-19 (Disease), Facebook (Electronic resource), Fiji, Funeral rites and ceremonies, Indigenous peoples, Oceania, Public health, Manners and customs, Rural development, Unemployment
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