COVID-19: Fiji records first possible fatal case in maritime islands

A 63-year-old woman of Yale in Kadavu has died from coronavirus, possibly the first COVID-19 death to be recorded on any of Fiji’s maritime islands, origins of which is said to have stemmed from unauthorised travel between the island and the country’s capital city, Suva.

The elderly woman from Rakiraki village in Yale was declared dead on arrival at the Vunisea Hospital on Kadavu.

“Her family reported that she had a cough, fever and shortness of breath. She was swabbed as per protocol and tested positive for COVID-19. She was not vaccinated,” Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said.

Health authorities have classified the death as under investigation while awaiting the issuance of a death certificate by the medical team.

Early investigations have indicated that the deceased had contact with individuals who travelled unauthorized between Suva and Kadavu. A response team is currently onsite investigating the case and conducting public health investigations with testing and quarantine of contacts.

“To help with our Public Health Containment measures we are suspending shipping services to Kadavu for a week starting today (19th of August to the 26th of August 2021). Investigations continue, and further announcements will be made on the future measures that will be put in place to contain spread on the island.”

The Ministry of Health and Medical services reiterates its call for maritime islanders to not engage in unauthorised travel to and from Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus infections.

“All our current protocols to regulate domestic movements must be adhered to. Furthermore, we repeat our call to all village leaders and elders to support our current efforts to protect our maritime islands and to report immediately any suspicious movements into your community.”

There have also been COVID-19 cases on Gau Island, and Fiji’s old capital of Levuka, during the outbreak that started in April, but all patients reportedly recovered.

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