Tue. Mar 31st, 2020

Fiji Confirms Fifth Case of COVID-19

A fifth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed by the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The contact tracing team quickly determined that the first patient, the flight attendant from Lautoka, attended a Zumba class while he was displaying symptoms.

All members of that class were directed to self-quarantine the same day the first patient was diagnosed which was on 19th March. They were each instructed to immediately alert our medical teams if they began developing symptoms.

On 23 March, four days into compulsory self-quarantine, one of the class members, a 31-year-old woman, began displaying symptoms.

During their Zumba class, she worked out in close proximity with the first patient and shared a hug. When she later recognised her symptoms, she notified our rapid response medical teams, who securely and hygienically transported her via ambulance to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital.

This fifth patient was in quarantine when her symptoms first developed. She shares a household with nine others, two of whom were also showing symptoms and have been isolated in Lautoka Hospital.

The other seven remain under strict quarantine in the home, which is under constant police surveillance.

This is the exact reason why the Lautoka confined area is currently on lockdown. The authorities knew there was a risk that the first patient may have spread the virus to others.

If this wasn’t done, this new patient could have traveled to other parts of Fiji, potentially exposing others and vastly complicating our contact tracing efforts.

Additionally, our contact tracing had to be extended further back, to identify even more people that the first case may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well, after our investigations revealed that we weren’t initially given the full story.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Voreqe Bainimarama is urging members of the public to tell the truth to the health officials.

“If you lie, you could cost people their very lives. Be honest with our doctors, nurses, police officers, and medical teams about where you’ve been, who you have seen and, if you’re unwell, tell them exactly when you started feeling sick. Help them help you, and help Fiji beat this virus,” Honourable Bainimarama said.

 

He stressed that by being dishonest, people aren’t protecting their loved ones from isolation; they are putting their lives in danger, and risk infecting many more.

The Prime Minister has emphasised that self-quarantine is a compulsory, legally-mandated order.

The government’s ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect.

From tomorrow 26 March, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel.

From Sunday, 29 March, all passenger travel to our outer islands will cease. Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across our islands.

Anyone who regularly travels these routes should decide where they prefer to spend the next few months.

Fiji is at war with COVID19. We cannot see our enemy. But we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times. You can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

And if you’re told to quarantine, do it.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat or headaches; or
  • difficulty breathing.

The Government of Fiji remains on the highest level of alert in response to this global pandemic. We know that finding cases early and isolating them quickly is key to containing this disease. As the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses (including the common cold and influenza) it is expected that the Ministry will continue to investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to COVID-19.

What can you do?

The Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services wishes to strongly urge the public to not share rumours and misinformation, and to use credible sources for information on COVID-19:

Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services website:

www.health.gov.fj

Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/MoHFiji/

World Health Organization (WHO) website:

www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

 

If you have been to a COVID-19 affected country in the last 14 days and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing immediately contact one of the numbers listed below. If you need to see a doctor please call ahead, using the following phone numbers, before visiting to reduce the risk of infecting other patients.

Central                        2219905

Eastern                        2219906

Western                       2219907

Northern                      2219908

The Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services is monitoring the developing situation and will provide updates regularly to the public.