By the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services
Wednesday January 6th, 2021
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is announcing four new border cases of COVID-19. The 1st case is a 35 year old male. He travelled from the United Kingdom and arrived in Fiji on flight NZ 952 from Auckland on December 24th. The 2nd and 3rd cases are a 25 year old male and a 27 year old female who arrived on flight GA 8250 from New Delhi on December 21st. The 4th case is a 55 year old male who travelled from Mali and arrived on 31st December on flight NZ952 from Auckland. All four individuals tested positive during routine testing while undergoing mandatory quarantine in the government designated (and Republic of Fiji Military Forces supervised) border quarantine facilities in Nadi.
The individuals have been safely and hygienically transferred to the isolation ward at the Lautoka hospital in accordance with the standard protocol for confirmed cases. They have been asymptomatic and well since arrival in Fiji. The frontline border and quarantine staff who were directly involved with the cases have followed our standard infection prevention and control protocols, and will be monitored and tested as necessary.
We also have another positive case that is considered a historical case. The 39 year old male arrived on flight NZ952 from Hong Kong on December 21st, .He tested positive during routine border quarantine testing, however, this person had already tested positive between October-December while travelling in France and the United Kingdom and will not be counted as a new case for Fiji. Like another historical case announced last week – this individual had subsequently tested negative in pre-departure testing in the United Kingdom. He also tested negative during day 3 testing in border quarantine in Fiji. It is known that non-infectious particles of the COVID-19 virus can remain detectable, and result in a positive test result, long after the infection has passed, even if the person has tested negative previously; therefore it is unlikely that this person is currently infectious. He is also symptom free. However, as a precaution, he has been transferred to the isolation ward at Lautoka hospital according to our standard protocol.
Fiji has a total of 53 cases since our first case was detected on March 19th, with the last 35 cases detected in border quarantine. Fiji now has 5 active cases and it has now been 263 days since the last case was detected outside border quarantine.
In view of an upsurge in border quarantine cases and the concerns relating to the appearance of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and our partner agencies at the borders (including hotel management, transport management, and airport management senior personnel) have made the necessary adjustments to strengthen our border quarantine and infection control protocols. These measures have been diligently enforced; therefore these border quarantine cases pose zero risks to the health and wellbeing of the Fijian public.