Media statement

Statement by Head of Health Protection

Last Updated on 4 months by Publishing Team

Statement by Head of Health Protection
24th June 2021

Transmission Update

As announced by the Permanent Secretary we have recorded 308 new cases in the 24-hour period ending at 8.00am today. This is another daily record of cases, breaking the previous record set just yesterday.

297 cases are from the Lami-Nausori Containment Zone, and 11 are from Tramline Nadi. 218 of the cases in Lami-Suva-Nausori are from existing areas of interest. This includes 153 cases from Qauia in Lami. 12 cases are from new areas of interest that include: Goodman Fielder, Gounder Shipping, Nausori Police Barracks, and St. Giles Hospital. The remaining cases are contacts of known cases, or cases that were seen in screening clinics and were swabbed. A full breakdown has been published on the Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard and on the Fijian Government Facebook page. You can also view the approximate locations of the new cases on the Ministry’s dashboard http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb

A patient who tested positive for COVID-19 has died. This is a 63 year old male who presented to the FEMAT field hospital and tested positive. This death is being investigated by doctors at CWM Hospital to determine if it was caused by COVID-19.

There have now been 13 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 11 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year. We also have recorded 8 COVID-19 positive patients that died from pre-existing non-COVID-19 related illnesses. 1 death is currently under investigation.

A review of recent positive cases reported recently has found that 9 cases had been tested and counted twice due to differences in identifying information entered for each sample tested. Therefore, the 9 duplicate records have been removed from the active and total case count.

There have been 17 recoveries reported since the last update, which means that there are now 2173 active cases in isolation. There have been 2778 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021. We have recorded a total of 2848 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 653 recoveries.

Testing Update

A total of 138,443 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 181,294 tested since testing began in early 2020. 2913 tests have been reported for June 22nd. The national 7-day daily test average is 2896 tests per day or 3.3 tests per 1000 population. The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 5.7% and continues on an upward trend.

Vaccination Update

We have now administered first doses to 266,436 individuals since the beginning of the vaccination campaign and second doses to 32,766. This means that 45% of adults in Fiji have received one dose, and 5.6% have received the second dose.

Epidemic Outlook

The 7 day average of new cases per day has increased to 189 cases per day or 214 cases per million population per day. Our daily testing numbers have remained at a high level, and yet our test positivity continues to increase. All the evidence is that there is widespread community transmission in the Lami-Suva-Nausori containment zone.

There are also clusters in Naitasiri and one cluster in Korovou. There continue to be cases reported in Nadi, but so far they are from within the containment zone in the Nawajikuma and Tramline containment area.

Two cases from the same family were detected in Lautoka, as announced 2 days ago.

To date, this outbreak appears contained to Viti Levu, with the Northern and Eastern divisions yet to detect a case. Though we are closely monitoring the recent situation with the inter-island shipping crew that tested positive, and our teams on the ground in the respective areas are responding rapidly.

We hit another record number of cases today, and with increasing cases we expect increasing severe disease and deaths. And while our hospitals right now are not overwhelmed with severe cases, from what we have seen in other countries with widespread community transmission during this pandemic, this is a very real possibility that we are preparing for.

We know that the vaccine we have in Fiji works well against the virus in preventing severe disease. The United Kingdom has reported that it is 92% effective in preventing hospitalization. If you’re watching this right now and are still unsure if you will get vaccinate, or if you have put off getting the vaccine, please remember this: you need to have 2 doses of the vaccine, spaced between 8 weeks to 12 weeks apart to be considered fully vaccinated. And it isn’t until at least 14 days after the second dose that you will have the full protective effect of the vaccine. Please do not wait until it is too late. Please protect yourselves and your loved ones.

But for everyone who has been vaccinated – please also think about this. If our hospitals become overwhelmed with patients with severe COVID-19 disease, we will all be affected, not just those with COVID-19 or their loved ones. If you or a loved one have an accident, or come down with another serious illness at the same time as that wave of severe cases – it may be difficult to get medical care. We know this, because we have seen it happen in other countries that have had widespread community transmission and escalating outbreaks.

Dr. Fong has talked about what we are doing in the Ministry to prepare for this scenario. But I am asking all leaders, and anyone who has any influence on their communities, please, do everything you can to encourage those around you to get vaccinated and follow the personal protective measures we always talk about.

Stay home as much as possible, if you have to leave the house, wear a mask, make sure you have your careFiji app on if you have a smartphone, keep at least 2 metres between yourself and others outside your household. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or used an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Avoid crowds, and crowded confined places.