Fijian COVID19 patient serviced three international flights

Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient, a 27 year old flight attendant on Fiji’s national carrier, Fiji Airways worked three international flights from the United States of America and to New Zealand before he displayed symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The head of Fiji’s Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Aalisha SahuKhan said the patient, now in isolation at a COVID19 ward of the Lautoka Hospital is in stable condition.

Fijian health authorities are now tracing passengers and crew on flights he serviced; FJ871 from San Francisco, USA which arrived into Nadi on Monday 16 March and FJ411 from Nadi to Auckland as well as its return flight FJ410 on Tuesday 17 March.

“He presented to the Latoka hospital on the evening of Tuesday March 17 displaying respiratory symptoms at which point he was immediately isolated by the staff of Lautoka Hospital.”

Dr. Aalisha SahuKhan, Director, Fiji CDC

“This patient was admitted to the isolation ward on Tuesday evening. Last night  the sample was run at Fiji’s Centre of Disease Control.”

Following confirmation early March 19, Fijian authorities instituted containment measures and contact tracing.

Government believes the patient contracted COVID-19 in the USA and has now included US ports on the list of places from which foreign nationals will be refused entry into Fiji.

“We focused on his movements since Monday 16 of March because we know that is when the period started that he could spread the disease to others.”

Dr. Aalisha SahuKhan, Director, Fiji CDC

Dr. SahuKhan believes the patient presented early, on the day he displayed symptoms but health officials are tracing the movements he made in Lautoka on Monday 16 March and have also quarantined his household contacts and family.

Meanwhile the Fiji Airways aircraft which serviced the San Francisco flight have a seating capacity of 313 and the Auckland flights each had the capacity to carry 267 each way. It is not clear exactly how many people were on those flights.

“We are working very closely with Fiji Airways on contacting passengers and crew. Any passengers on board these flights should contact the numbers provided by the PM if they would like isolation or if they would like to share their concerns.”

If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these numbers:

  • In the Central Division call 2219905;
  • In the Eastern Division call 2219906;
  • In the Western Division call 2219907; and
  • In the Northern Division call 2219908.
Fiji PM on COVID19
Photo: Department of Information
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