Last Updated on 2 years by Publishing Team
The 7-day average of new cases per day is 37 cases per day or 42 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 continues monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak, and it is noted that there is a downward trend across all indicators of the COVID-19 epidemic in Fiji.
With the reduction in testing numbers, which is above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests per 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week), we will transition to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.
The overall indications of the cases, hospitalization, and deaths data indicate a positive response to our overall COVID response with the epidemic in the west having a lower and delayed disease peak with lower cumulative numbers compared to the Central Division.
We are continuing the process of normalizing movement between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Precautions are being taken, including requiring a negative COVID-19 test before departure and a 7 day home quarantine. However, COVID-19 has reached communities in almost all countries in the world. As such, community transmission of COVID-19 in the North is to be expected. However, we anticipate that the number of cases, and cases with severe disease, will be less than that seen with the outbreak in Viti Levu, because of higher vaccination coverage.
Within Viti Levu, the outbreak was contained in the Lami to Nausori containment area long enough to allow for escalation of vaccination coverage and clinical response capacity outside the containment area. This contributed to the lower peak and the total number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths outside the containment area within Viti Levu. We expect to see the same trend in the Northern division, especially if covid safe measures are consistently adhered to.
The best protection from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, as it reduces your risk of being infected, and spreading the virus. But if you do get infected, it is highly protective in preventing severe disease and death. If you are eligible for vaccination (aged 15 and over) and have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated now, and continue to practice other protective measures: avoid poorly ventilated, crowded, and confined places, wear a mask when indoors (except in your own home) and in public transport.
The people of the North are reminded to continue to get vaccinated. And with vaccination, we must continue to closely observe our COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds to minimize the risk of the spread of the virus. The key to avoiding future restrictions and lockdowns is for the public to remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedom they now enjoy.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in preparation for easing of restrictions in the North has remodeled the health service provision to ensure:
- Community surveillance through test, trace, and track protocols is being escalated to help identify and contain any outbreak early.
- Registration and line listing of vulnerable persons especially in poorly vaccinated areas has been done;
- Preparations for the monitoring of positive cases and vulnerable persons to ensure better access to appropriate care plans has been made;
- Clinical care protocols for the severe disease has been reviewed and strengthened;
Our team managing the travel to and from the North will continue to increase the number of travelers we can support to travel as the vaccination rates improve. As such:
- From yesterday, Tuesday, the 19th of October all travel from Vanua Levu to Viti Levu will not need a registration number nor a MOHMS pass.
- The Registration and MOHMS pass process will be maintained with regard to travel from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu. This is to ensure that the travel is documented for contact tracing; the negative pre-departure test and vaccination status are verified, and the travel caseload to the North team is kept manageable. All these factors are important to both preventing and being able to contain SARS-CoV 2 transmission in the North. The public is strongly advised to only do a pre-departure test only after your registration number is obtained. Also note that given the increasing vaccination rates, daily traveling quotas to the North are being increased and we will be transitioning to self-monitored home quarantine.
Travel to the maritime islands will undergo similar changes once their 2nd dose vaccination coverage reaches 80% with a 72-hour pre-departure test and on island 7-day quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers. Also for all maritime resorts, travel restrictions will be eased for fully vaccinated workers originating from Viti Levu and maritime islands that have 80% or more 2nd dose coverage.
As mentioned by our Prime Minister on the 10th of October, we plan to drop any quarantine requirement for inter-island travel once more Fijians in Vanua Levu and other islands are fully vaccinated. From 11th November we will open regular inter-island travel but only if vaccination rates in the north and maritime islands maintain a steady rise.