PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 19-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Sunday, 19th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 79 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today. 35 cases are from the Western Division and 44 cases are from the Central Division.

There have been 82 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 12,981 active cases. 1,252 of the active cases are in the Central Division, 11,419 active cases in the Western Division, 1 active case in the Northern Division (Macuata), and 309 active cases in the Eastern Division (all in Kadavu).

There have been 49,889 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 49,959 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,011 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 no new COVID-19 deaths today.

There has been one death of a COVID-19 positive patient. However, this death has been classified as a non-COVID death by their doctors. The doctors have determined that this death was caused by a serious pre-existing medical condition and not COVID-19.

There have now been 566 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 564 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 14th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 1.1. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0.6 and 0.6 in the Western Division.

We also have recorded 401 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 115 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 34 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 81 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 6 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 3 are in critical condition.

Screening Update

A total of 5,133 individuals were screened and 174 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 623,734 individuals screened and 97,120 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 669 individuals and swabbed 78. This brings our cumulative total to 838,103 individuals screened and 75,400 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 355,992 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 398,853 tested since testing began in March 2020. 829 tests have been reported for September 18th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,210 tests per day or 1.4 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 8 tests per 1000 population, which remains above the WHO recommended level of 4 per 1000 population per week. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 12%, which is on a downward trend but still indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update 

To date, 587,948 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 387,320 have received their second doses. This means that 98% of the target population have received at least one dose and 66% are now fully vaccinated nationwide. Fijians can check the Ministry’s vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional, and sub-divisional levels.

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 139 cases per day or 157 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers in the Suva-Nausori corridor 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, testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 per 1000 population per week (or approx. 3500 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 recorded in Kadavu in the last 24 hours. The 53 active cases on the island are distributed between 13 villages and 1 settlement and are followed up daily by the health team. Thirteen patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 6 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, while 7 are negative for COVID-19. Education and awareness sessions continue for the villages and communities. The outreach teams are engaged in contact tracing, follow-up of positive cases, vaccination, and management of isolation and quarantine activities. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

No new cases were reported for Malolo, Naviti, Waya, and Nacula Islands in the last 24 hours. Daily assessment continues for the active cases and their contacts. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages in the 4 islands.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours. The 179 active cases are on daily monitoring by the health team. Movement restrictions remain in force for the whole island

Public Updates and Advice:

Vaccination of Eligible Children

Vaccination of eligible children aged 15 to 17 years with the Moderna vaccine begins tomorrow Monday, 20th September 2021. Online registration is open and parents are encouraged to register their children before 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. 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.

Border Health Protection

The Border Health Protection Unit (BHPU) has been established to oversee and facilitate the health protection activities and programs conducted at our border and ports of entry to ensure our protection against trans-border infectious disease spread. The unit will work together with the relevant military, police, and border control units providing the leadership and support needed to strengthen our quarantine operations. Our quarantine protocols are currently undergoing review to define green list countries and/or areas and revise the pre-departure and in-country quarantine and testing protocols for fully vaccinated travelers. In keeping with the science, it is anticipated that pre-departure, quarantine, and in-country testing conditions for fully vaccinated persons from “green” listed countries will be less stringent than then-current conditions.

The BHPU Facility has been established in the CAAF compound in Namaka, Nadi, and this facility will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing quarantine operations.  Their function will be supplemented by a container laboratory that has arrived and is situated close to the border health protection facility.  As a result of an ongoing collaborative effort between WHO, DFAT, ADB, Fiji Airways, and the Government, the laboratory will have the capacity to process around 500 tests per day. In addition, the Unit will also facilitate the following programs and actions at the border:

  1. Establish a Slot Management System with the support of Fiji Airways to manage our quarantine capacity at designated quarantine facilities;
  2. Enforce the restriction on inbound international travelers to only fully vaccinated individuals (except in some emergencies);
  3. Enforce the requirement for all quarantine personnel engaged in quarantine operations to be fully vaccinated;
  4. Engage advanced technologies and CCTV support that support and facilitate improved border health surveillance and oversight.
  5. Establish and inculcate a no-blame work culture and environment that allow quarantine officers to freely report on breaches of COVID safe protocols or symptoms of disease identified in any individual at the border.

Lifting of Lockdown Borders

With the relaxation of movement restrictions on Viti Levu, we remind the public that the threat of community transmission is real, and is higher with unregulated travel. The potential for transmission in any community will be slower and the ability to contain the outbreak better if we achieve a high vaccination rate and maintain strict adherence to COVID safe measures. Therefore, we encourage everyone to become fully vaccinated and to continue to practice COVID safe measures at all times.