COVID-19 Fiji: Two border quarantine cases

Fiji recorded two border quarantine cases and its unclear at this stage whether they are included in the 177 new coronavirus infections reported for the 24 hour period that ended at 8am yesterday.

The border quarantine cases involve a 20-year-old man from Nadi and a 22-year-old man from Lautoka who arrived in Fiji on a vessel via the Lautoka seaport on 19 September. Authorities say the duo did not disembark the vessel when it visited other seaports during the course of travel, but believe they may have picked up the virus through crew change at one of the ports.

“The Fiji Border Health Protection Unit (BHPU) is currently investigating this,” PS Health Dr James Fong said. “They have been retrieved as per protocol and transferred to our managed isolation facilities. Both individuals were noted to be symptomatic for COVID-19 but are currently stable.”

The two were in quarantine when they tested positive and subsequently taken to an isolation facility.

“As per protocol, the disinfection process of rooms and linen has been completed by the onsite health quarantine officer and all frontline workers who were in contact with these two individuals have been included on the routine weekly swabbing schedule and the front-liner surveillance schedule.”

Dr Fong said the two new border quarantine cases highlight once again efforts to anticipate and be ready for quarantine operations as Fiji relooks at international travel such as the setting up of the BHPU.

The BHPU has been established to oversee and facilitate the health protection activities and programs conducted at our border and ports of entry to ensure our protection against trans-border infectious disease spread. The unit will work together with the relevant military, police, and border control units providing the leadership and support needed to strengthen our quarantine operations.

Established in the CAAF compound in Namaka, Nadi, this facility will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing quarantine operations. Their function will be supplemented by a container laboratory that has arrived and is situated close to the border health protection facility. As a result of an ongoing collaborative effort between WHO, DFAT, ADB, Fiji Airways, and the Government, the laboratory will have the capacity to process around 500 tests per day.

In addition, the Unit will also facilitate the following programs and actions at the border:

1.Establish a Slot Management System with the support of Fiji Airways to manage our quarantine capacity at designated quarantine facilities;

2.Enforce the restriction on inbound international travellers to only fully vaccinated individuals (except in some emergencies);

3.Enforce the requirement for all quarantine personnel engaged in quarantine operations to be fully vaccinated;

4.Engage advanced technologies and CCTV support that support and facilitate improved border health surveillance and oversight;

5.Establish and inculcate a no-blame work culture and environment that allow quarantine officers to freely report on breaches of COVID safe protocols or symptoms of disease identified in any individual at the border.

Photo: Fiji Ports

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