PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 03-10-2021

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Sunday 03rd October 2021

Transmission Update

We have 34 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 80 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,828 active cases. There have been 51,132 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 51,202 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 37,248 recoveries.

We are currently reviewing and reconciling our active case database with deaths and recoveries and as a result, we expect the death and recovery numbers to intermittently change as verifications are made.

Deaths

We have one COVID-19 death to report today. The one COVID-19 death was reported from the Central Division.

The COVID-19 death to report today is a 33-year-old man from Newtown who died at home on 01/10/2021. His family reported that he had a reduced appetite, generalized body weakness, and lethargy a few days prior. He received the first dose of the vaccine in early August. He received the second dose of the vaccine on 13/09/2021. Although he was fully vaccinated he had existing underlying medical conditions that would have toned down his ability to mount a good vaccine-induced immune response and thus reduced his ability to fully benefit from the protective effects of the vaccine. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services advises that we all need to continue practicing strict COVID-19 safety measures to protect our vulnerable family members, irrespective of vaccination status.

There have now been 633 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 631 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. Please note that due to the time required by clinical teams to investigate, classify and report deaths, a 4-day interval is given to calculate the 7 days rolling average of deaths, based on the date of death, to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported. Therefore, as of September 28th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.7. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.1 and 0.6 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 493 COVID-19 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted COVID-19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitalisations

There are currently 71 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 32 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 39 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 3 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 5 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 4,719 individuals were screened and 162 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 705,777 individuals screened and 103,062 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams did not undertake any screening over the weekend, and the cumulative total remains 851,719 individuals screened and 77,390 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 372,270 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 415,131 tested since testing began in March 2020. 632 tests have been reported for October 2nd, 2021. The 7-day daily test average is 1,053 tests per day or 1.2 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 9.7 tests per 1000 population, which remains above the WHO recommended level of 4 tests per 1000 population per week. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 6%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

To date, 593,442 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 462,441 have received their second doses. Based on our updated total population of 618,173 people aged 18 years and over (adults), the vaccination coverage rates are 96% for adults who have received at least one dose, and 74.8% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. Please do note that since dose one is beyond 95%, a verification exercise for dose one is ongoing which may result in minor changes.

As for children, 17,996 children in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine as of 24/09/2021. We will be tracking our vaccine coverage rates once we have firmed up our 15 to 17-year-olds age group denominator.

For persons who are currently ill or have valid reasons for delaying their vaccination, we request you to apply for possible temporary exemptions through covidexemptionreq@gmail.com.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 64 cases per day or 72 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers are currently not being used as the sole indicator to monitor the progress of the outbreak. The Ministry is closely monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak.

With the decrease in testing numbers, our testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests per 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week). We will be transitioning to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.

No new cases were reported on Malolo Island in the last 24 hours. Of the total of 89 cases, 57 have recovered, and 32 remain active. Daily monitoring continues for the active cases and their contacts. Vaccination of the villagers and distribution of food rations continue for the affected families. Movement restrictions remain in place.

No new cases were recorded on Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 181 cases, 163 have recovered and 18 remain active. Daily monitoring of cases and their contacts by the health team continues. The villages on the island remain under strict movement restrictions.

No new cases were recorded on Waya Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 51 cases on the island, 31 cases have recovered and 20 cases remain active and under daily monitoring by the health team. Vaccination of adults continues and the island remains on movement restriction.

The Nacula Medical Area did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the 155 cases in the medical area, 30 have recovered, and 125 remain active. The active cases are isolated in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health teams from the respective medical areas. Movement restrictions remain in force for the islands.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 252 cases on the island, 179 cases have now been recovered and 72 cases remain active. The active cases and the 93 primary contacts and 12 secondary contacts are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. Movement restriction remains in force for Yanuca Island with the discontinuation of travel from Yanuca Island to Viti Levu for 14 days.

No new case was recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 582 cases. Of these, 556 cases have recovered and the remaining 26 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Risk assessment revealed that 5 active cases are in the high-risk category and 21 in the low category. Four patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 2 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 2 are negative for COVID-19. Vaccination continues by the Vunisea health teams and the Kaval health teams. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

Ovalau Island did not report any new cases in the last 24 hours. The 2 positive cases are on Day 14 in the Isolation facility and monitored by the health team in Levuka. Four other individuals in quarantine have been re-swabbed and results confirm they are historical cases. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

Vaccination for Eligible Children

Vaccination of eligible children aged 15 to 17 years with the Moderna vaccine resumes tomorrow Monday 04 October 2021 throughout the country at designated vaccination sites for children. Parents and guardians are encouraged to register their children on the Vaccination Registration System (VRS) before the vaccination. The vaccination sites for children can be obtained from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Facebook page as well as the Government Facebook page. Parental or guardian consent is mandatory before vaccination, and no vaccine will be administered to any child without the consent of the parent or guardian.

Vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 years is safe. Similar to adults, children can also experience the side effects of COVID-19 vaccination such as pain, swelling at the jab site, fever, and body aches. These symptoms should subside over a few days. Severe side effects are rare and the risk of getting a severe infection and succumbing to COVID-19 is still higher than the risk of adverse events from vaccination. Therefore, parents and guardians are encouraged to agree for their children to be vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19.

While rates and severity of the infection are lower in children, we have experienced cases and severe disease in children. Furthermore, children do still spread the infection and occasionally develop severe disease. Apart from Vaccination, children are also protected when adults around them are vaccinated and these adults adhere to COVID safe measures.

COVID 19 will be endemic in Fiji

Going forward, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services public health team will be monitoring for COVID-19 transmission and disease; and intervening when cases cross the beyond acceptable levels. It is expected that in the short to medium term, unknown chains of transmission will persist in parts of Fiji and may not be picked up by our routine community surveillance program. They will only be revealed when an outbreak is big enough to be visible. Therefore, having no cases reported does not necessarily mean that the virus has been eliminated, it implies that the spread of the virus has been successfully contained. Further to community surveillance, remodeling health service provision is also a key strategy in our response.

The public is further reminded that while we have instigated a number of mandatory and punitive measures to promote adherence to COVID safe measures, public engagement and compliance remains the main determining factor to preventing further transmission and preventing the need for severe restrictions and lockdown.

As such whilst we are doing well with steady reductions in disease cases, admissions, severe disease, and death, this is a time for cautious reassurance and optimism.