COVID-19 Fiji: Fiji reports two cases of omicron variant

Two Fijian citizens who travellers from Nigeria have tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant, becoming Fiji’s case of the new variant.

The two travellers arrived on Fiji Airways flight FJ1392 from Hong Kong on 25 November – the day the discovery of the Omicron variant was announced internationally. They had tested negative for COVID-19 before departure from Fiji and before they left Nigeria. They entered a government-designated border quarantine facility immediately upon arrival into Fiji, tested positive while in quarantine, currently have no symptoms, and were fully vaccinated.

Others on the flight from non-travel partner countries remain in border quarantine for 14 days. Four passengers on the same flight who had travellers from travel partner countries have tested negative, likewise the Fiji Airways crew and accompanying passengers from FJ 1392 who have tested negative at least twice.

Finding the Omicron variant in travelers in boarder quarantine, the ministry of health says is not unexpected, but provides a sharp reminder to all of us that they key to avoiding future restrictions and lockdowns is for all of us to remain cautious about how we engage in the greater freedom we will enjoy.

While studies are ongoing to fully know the Omicron variant’s impact on the transmissibility of the virus, severity of disease, and effect of prior immunity (from vaccination or infection), preliminary evidence shows that the variant may be more transmissible than the Delta variant; it may cause reinfection in people who have been previously infected with another variant; and it has been seen to infect people who are fully vaccinated – although, so far, the fully vaccinated cases have been generally mild or with no symptoms.

“To protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our country, we must all get vaccinated when it is our turn. And even with our high vaccination levels, we must maintain COVID safe habits: mask wisely by carrying a well-fitted mask when you leave your home and wear the mask properly in public indoor spaces, public service vehicles, and outdoor crowded spaces; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; 2-meter physical distancing and ensure you are wearing a mask if you cannot maintain distance; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”

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