PRESS RELEASE

COVID-19 Update – 25-09-2021

Last Updated on 2 months by Publishing Team

Media Release

COVID-19 Daily Update

Saturday 25th September 2021 

Transmission Update

We have 161 new cases of COVID-19 to report for the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.

There have been 84 new recoveries to report since the last update, which means that there are now 13,067 active cases. There have been 50,631 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 50,701 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 36,608 recoveries.

We have one new border quarantine case to announce today. This case is a 23-year-old man from Tokyo. He arrived in Fiji on the 12th of September 2021 at the Nadi Airport. His entry swab on the 16th of September 2021 was noted to be negative. He was observing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in a managed Quarantine Facility when he reported becoming symptomatic on day 9 (21st September 2021). He was swabbed on day 11 and his swab came back positive for COVID-19 (23/09/2021). As per protocol he has been retrieved and transferred to a managed Isolation Facility in Nadi. He is currently noted to be in a stable condition and the disinfection process of his room and linen have been completed by the onsite health quarantine officer. All frontline workers and accompanying passengers who were in contact with this individual have been included in the routine weekly swabbing schedules and the front-liner surveillance schedules.

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 six COVID-19 deaths to report for the period of 09th July- 24th September 2021. Four COVID-19 deaths were reported from the Central Division and two COVID-19 deaths were reported from the Western Division. Kindly note four deaths from July are being reported today due to the delay in the issuance of the official death certificates.

The first COVID-19 death to report is an 80-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 09/07/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The second COVID-19 death to report is a 91-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 16/07/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The third COVID-19 death to report is a 65-year-old woman from Suva who died at home on 16/07/2021. She received the first dose of the vaccine in early July. She did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that she was not fully vaccinated.

The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 67-year-old man from Suva who died at home on 16/07/2021. He was not vaccinated.

The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 78-year-old man from Ba. He presented to the Ba Mission Hospital in severe respiratory distress. Sadly, he died on the same day (24/09/2021). He received the first dose of the vaccine in mid-July. He did not receive the second dose of the vaccine. This means that he was not fully vaccinated.

The sixth COVID-19 death to report is a 67-year-old woman from Nadi. She was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Nadi Hospital on (24/09/2021). This means that she died at home or on her way to the hospital. She was not vaccinated.

There have been 3 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 590 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 588 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 20th, the national 7 days rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is 0.3. The 7 days rolling average for COVID-19 deaths per day in the Central Division is 0 and 0.3 in the Western Division.

We have also recorded 436 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 98 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital. 42 patients are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital and 56 are admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 8 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 3 are in critical condition.

 Screening Update

A total of 3,150 individuals were screened and 526 swabbed at our stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours, bringing our cumulative total to 658,928 individuals screened and 99,993 swabbed to date. Our mobile screening teams screened a total of 2,431 individuals and swabbed 61. This brings our cumulative total to 846,857 individuals screened and 76,542 swabbed by our mobile teams.

Testing Update

A total of 363,601 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 406,462 tested since testing began in March 2020. 957 tests have been reported for September 24th. The 7-day daily test average is 1,163 tests per day or 1.3 tests per 1,000 population. Weekly testing is at 9.7 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 10.4%, which is on a downward trend, but it still is indicating a high level of community transmission.

Vaccination Update

As of the 24th September 2021: 590,881 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 425,120 have received their second doses. Based on our updated total population of 618,173 people aged 18 years and over (adults), the revised vaccination coverage rates are 95.6% for adults who have received at least one dose, and 68.8% are now fully vaccinated nationwide.

As for children, 17,996 children in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine as of the 24th of September. We will be tracking our vaccine coverage rates once we have firmed up our 15 to 17-year-old 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 117 cases per day or 133 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, our testing remains above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests 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 on Kadavu Island in the last 24 hours. Of the 556 positive cases on the island, 536 cases have recovered and the remaining 17 active cases are under daily monitoring by the health team. Seven patients are currently admitted at Vunisea hospital, of which 3 are COVID positive and currently in stable condition, and 4 are negative for COVID-19. Vaccination was conducted by 5 teams from the Vunisea health team and 2 teams from the Kavala health team. Vaccination for children will commence on Monday 27 September 2021. Movement restrictions remain in force supervised by the Police team and the Vanua.

Ten new cases have been reported in the village of Yaro in Malolo Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 82.  Of the 72 cases on the island, 57 cases have recovered and the 25 remaining active cases are monitored daily by the health team. Contact tracings continue for the village of Solevu and rations have been distributed to affected families. One high-risk case is admitted at Lautoka Hospital. Movement restrictions remain in force for all villages on Malolo Island.

No new cases were recorded for Naviti Island in the last 24 hours. 86 cases remain active and under surveillance by the health team. Movement restrictions are in place for all villages.

Thirteen new cases were recorded in the villages of Nalawaki, Yalobi, Naboro, and Namara villages on Waya Island in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 44. Of these, 26 have recovered to date and 18 remain active cases and are under home isolation in their villages with a daily assessment conducted by the Yalobi nursing station health team. The island is still under strict movement restrictions.

Eleven new cases were reported in the Nacula Medical Area in the village of Nacula in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 149 cases for the medical area. The 149 active cases remain in home isolation in their respective villages and are monitored daily by the health team from the Nacula health center. The health team is visiting villages in the medical area and conducting monitoring for the contact cases and screening for the villagers. Strict movement restriction remains in place for the whole island.

No new cases were recorded on Beqa Island in the last 24 hours.  Of the 242 cases on the island, 41 cases have recovered and 201 are active cases who are under home isolation and daily monitoring from the health team. The positive cases are distributed in the villages of Dakuibeqa, Dakuni, Soliyaga, Naceva, Nawaisomo, Lalati, and Raviravi. Vaccination for the villagers will commence once the 14 days lockdown for the island is completed. Movement restriction remains in force for the whole island.

Ovalau Island recorded no new cases in the last 24 hours. The 2 positive cases are in the Isolation facility and monitored by the health team in Levuka. Contact tracing is underway for the new cases who remain in the isolation facility and monitored by the Levuka health team. Internal repatriation to Ovalau has been put on hold for now.

Public Updates and Advice:

As already announced, as the second dose coverage increases, local and international travel restrictions, and other social and workplace engagement restrictions will be eased. However, the public must remain cautious about how they engage in the greater freedoms that they will enjoy. Whilst the easing of restrictions is needed to facilitate social and economic livelihood, the public must ensure that together with vaccination, we should continue to closely observe our COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds to avoid the risk of increased spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services in preparation for easing of restrictions has remodeled health service provision to ensure:

  1. Strengthened quarantine capacity;
  2. Greater capacity for community surveillance through test trace and track protocols;
  3. Registration and line listing of vulnerable persons especially in poorly vaccinated areas;
  4. Monitoring of positive cases and vulnerable persons to ensure better access to appropriate care plans;
  5. Reviewing and strengthening clinical care protocols for severe disease;

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services Communication team together with our multi-agency community engagement team are working with community leaders to identify and strengthen mechanisms that will facilitate a person with covid like symptoms seeking and engaging health care services early so that medical teams have a greater opportunity to provide timely treatment.

The potential for transmission in any community will be slower, and the ability to contain the outbreak better, when we achieve a high vaccination rate and also maintain strict adherence to COVID safe measures.

We encourage the public to persist in the practice of COVID-19 safety measures of wearing a mask when leaving your home, washing your hands regularly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer, practicing the correct coughing and sneezing etiquette, maintaining safe physical distancing of 2 meters, ensuring that the careFIJI app is downloaded on your phone and enabled, and last but not least, getting all eligible individuals fully vaccinated.