Last Updated on 3 weeks by Publishing Team
The virus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, which are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can get infected if they inhale these droplets or if they touch a surface or object (like a door handle or table) that has the virus on it and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. Generally, the virus is spread when a person is in close contact with an infected person.
There have been reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in some closed settings, such as restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing. In these outbreaks, aerosol transmission, particularly in these indoor locations where there are crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected persons spend long periods of time with others, cannot be ruled out.
A:The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- dry cough
- difficulty breathing
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- sore throat
Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, or diarrhea.
Most people experience mild, flu-like symptoms. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around one out of every five people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illnesses. People with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Q: How long does it take for a person to get sick after they are infected with the virus (the incubation period)?
While people are most infectious when they experience (flu-like) symptoms, it may be possible that people can transmit the virus without having any symptoms or before the symptoms appear. However, investigations are ongoing to determine this.
If people infected with COVID-19 are tested and diagnosed quickly and there is a rapid public health response undertaken to reduce the spread of the virus, the chance of further, continued spread of the virus in a community is likely to be low.
A: Like other respiratory illnesses, infection with COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. For some people, it can be more severe and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around one out of every five people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.
If you are sick and think you have symptoms of COVID-19,
- Visit your nearest fever clinic (Click here to see Fever Clinic Locations) For more information on clinics go to Fever Clinics
- Avoid crowds or traveling on public transport, to help prevent the spread of the virus.
A: Everyone is at risk of catching COVID-19, but people who are most at risk of suffering serious illness are people over 60 years of age, and people with underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, or cancer.However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill.
A: The most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus. A 1:10 dilution of household bleach is an effective cleaning agent. Studies have shown that the coronavirus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper, and less than 24 hours on cardboard.Regularly clean surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, using a disinfectant. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.
A: Yes, infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms, and when they don’t have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care. Even people confirmed to have COVID-19 but who do not have symptoms should be isolated to limit their contact with others. These measures break chains of transmission.
This is why it is always important to stay at least 1.5 meters from others, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a bent elbow or tissue, clean your hands regularly, avoid crowds, limit your time in enclosed public spaces, and stay home if you become unwell or if asked.
A: To help minimize the spread of COVID-19:
● Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers out of children’s reach.
● Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose immediately after using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, as it can cause irritation.
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
● Stay home when you are sick.
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces every day. High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
● Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can infect you and make you sick.
Why? Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu, and COVID-19.
Why? People infected with COVID-19 may leave infected droplets on objects and surfaces when they sneeze, cough on, or touch surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs, and handrails. Other people may become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, noses, or mouths before cleaning their hands.
Why? Aerosol transmission of COVID-19 cannot be ruled out, particularly in indoor locations where there are crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected persons spend long periods of time with others. These include restaurants, nightclubs, places of worship, or places of work where people may be shouting, talking, or singing.
Q: Who is most at risk of suffering serious illness due to COVID-19, and how can they protect themselves?
● avoiding large gatherings that could put them at risk of being infected with the virus
● ensuring that they have enough supply of routine medications, food, and other household supplies in case they need to stay at home for up to 14 days
● talking to your doctor today about how to best prepare for COVID-19
A: Yes, there are now several vaccines that are in use. The first mass vaccination program started in early December 2020 and as of 15 February 2021, 175.3 million vaccine doses have been administered. At least 7 different vaccines (3 platforms) have been administered.
WHO issued an Emergency Use Listing (EULs) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) on 31 December 2020. On 15 February 2021, WHO issued EULs for two versions of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and SKBio. WHO is on track to EUL other vaccine products through June.
The products and progress in regulatory review by WHO are provided by WHO and updated regularly. The document is provided here.
Once vaccines are demonstrated to be safe and efficacious, they must be authorized by national regulators, manufactured to exacting standards, and distributed. WHO is working with partners around the world to help coordinate key steps in this process, including facilitating equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the billions of people who will need them. More information about COVID-19 vaccine development is available here.
Screening and Testing
Screening for COVID-19 is a series of questions asked to determine a person’s risk for COVID-19. They include questions about the symptoms a person is experiencing, travel history in recent weeks, and exposure to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19. Right now, all persons entering Fiji either by air or sea are screened.
This is the actual process of determining whether a person has COVID-19 or not. There are several reasons why someone would be tested for the coronavirus. Some are tested because they are having symptoms that appear to be COVID-19-like. Some are tested due to exposure to an infected person. Some people are tested as an exit screening tool to ensure that people entering the community are not bringing COVID-19 into them. Fiji is also currently conducting tests for surveillance purposes which ensures that there is no community transmission of COVID-19.
● Then the patient must tilt their head back lightly and close their eyes.
● The sample is labeled correctly and kept in safe storage until collection (within 6–8 hours at the latest).
Rapid Antigen Test | $45.87
People traveling out of the country will have to apply for a COVID-19 swab test. Approval will be through the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services. These travelers will have to produce their travel itinerary and the biodata page of their passport to confirm they will be traveling before the test approval is granted. Fees can be paid at the following locations:
● Central – Cashier at MOHMS Headquarters (Level 1, Dinem House, 88 Amy Street, Toorak)
● Western – Cashier at Lautoka Hospital
● Northern – Cashier at Labasa Hospital
All approved applicants who have paid the fees will then be required to go to any one of the following facilities to have their swabs taken:
● Suva Health Office, Namosi House
● Nadi Hospital
● Lautoka Hospital
● Labasa Hospital
The swabs will then be sent to the Fiji Centre for Communicable Diseases for testing. Test results will be provided within 48 hours after the swabbing.
Public Health Response and Current Situation
Quarantine separates people who are well but may have been exposed to the virus to see if they become sick.
A: If you were in any other country affected by COVID-19, and within 14 days of your return to Fiji, feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:
● Seek medical advice and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
● Avoid contact with others.
● Not travel while sick.
● Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
● Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
● Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services will continue to monitor the developing situation and adapt our advice accordingly.