PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 04-10-2021

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Monday 04th October 2021

Transmission Update

We have 22 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 3,941 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 8,898 active cases. There have been 51,154 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 51,224 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 41,189 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 new COVID-19 death to report today. The COVID-19 death has been reported from the Central Division.

The COVID-19 death to report is a 58-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 01/10/2021. He was not vaccinated.

There have been 10 more deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. However, these deaths have been classified as non-COVID deaths by their doctors. The doctors have determined that these deaths were caused by a serious pre-existing medical condition and not COVID-19.

There have now been 634 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 632 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 29th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.6. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0 and 0.6 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 503 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 74 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 37 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 37 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 8 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 7 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 571 individuals were screened and 154 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 706,348 individuals screened and 103,216 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 81 individuals over the last 24 hours. This brings our cumulative total to 851,800 individuals screened and 77,390 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 372,631 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 415,492 tested since testing began in March 2020. 312 tests have been reported for October 3rd, 2021. Lab testing data for two labs are still being received. Therefore, lab testing data is expected to increase. The 7-day daily test average is 1,000 tests per day or 1.1 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

As of 03/10/2021: 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 60 cases per day or 67 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, 70 have recovered, and 19 remain active. Daily monitoring continues for the active cases and their contacts. Investigations continue for the two new cases reported over the weekend in Yanuya village as to their source of infection. 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, 178 have recovered and 3 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, 5 new recoveries were totaling 31 recoveries now with 20 cases remaining active and under daily monitoring by the health team. Vaccination of adults continues and the island remains on movement restriction.

Thirteen new cases were recorded in the Nacula Medical Area in the last 24 hours. Of the 168 cases in the medical area, 50 have recovered, and 118 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 case was 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. Vaccination continues in Naceva, Naseuseu, Rukua, Raviravi and Yanuca. Movement restriction remains in force for Yanuca Island with discontinuation of travel from Yanuca Island to Viti Levu on day 7 of 14 days.

Four new cases were recorded on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 586 cases. Of these, 556 cases have recovered and the remaining 30 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Risk assessment revealed that 6 active cases are in the high-risk category and 24 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 Kavala 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 active cases have completed 14 days of isolation and have been cleared. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

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 several 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.

COVID-19 and vaccine immunology

The knowledge of COVID-19 and vaccine immunology will continue to evolve. Current literature indicates that natural immunity is more dangerous to acquire, the immunity acquired is more variable, and the 3 recognized vaccines in Fiji (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna) provide long-term immunity. This consensus is based on statements released in June 2021 by the British Society for Immunology in partnership with the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC). This stand is consistent with the USA CDC stand on the matter of natural immunity and is the stand promoted by the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services.