Fiji authorities announce 12 new cases, as total case numbers surpass 100

Fiji recorded 12 new locally transmitted cases on Monday, 26 April the highest in a day since the first case in March 2020, and all of which authorities have linked back to the military officer including a recent case in Makoi that authorities feared was a possible new cluster.

The 12 include the husband of the 29-year-old woman of Makoi whose status authorities had announced on Sunday and were not sure how she contracted the virus because they could not trace it back to the funeral gathering in Tavakubu.

In a presser yesterday, Ministry for Health Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong revealed that the husband of the woman, aged 30 years, is a soldier who worked in Fiji’s frontline and was the roommate of the country’s case 73 or the first border quarantine military officer whose status was announced on Sunday 18 April and identified as the source of the country’s locally transmitted cases. Thus, the Makoi case has been reclassified as a locally transmitted case, stemming from the existing cluster, and not a community transmission case.

Also infected and tested positive were seven of the close household contacts of the 29-year-old woman who were transferred to a government-supervised quarantine facility on Sunday, 25 April. Along with the couple, the seven people’s travel history is the focus of the authorities’ contact tracing efforts to determine their contacts and possible exposure/transmission.

“We are currently tracking the movements of this Makoi family, and initial investigations indicate that they had a large number of contacts in the community. Our likely window of transmission for the family, starting with the husband extends from Monday, April 12th to Sunday, April 25th,” Dr James said.

“So even though we now know that we do not have community transmission, we will still need to maintain our containment areas. The reason we need to do this is because the Makoi family had a large number of contacts and moved around extensively. The maintenance of the containment areas will help us trace all their contacts more effectively and quickly.”

As part of their tracing efforts, authorities pleaded with all those who attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am on Sunday 18 April and those who had travelled from Viti Levu to any of the outer islands including Vanua Levu from Monday 19 April, to contact the nearest health team or the 158 helpline.

The other four new cases are close contacts of the hotel quarantine staff who travelled to the funeral in Tavakubu. The four, Dr Fong said initially tested negative when they entered quarantine but have now tested positive. This indicates that they were not infectious while in the community, authorities say.

With these latest cases there are now 36 active cases in isolation – of 14 border quarantine cases and 22 locally transmitted cases. Five of the border quarantine cases were older incidents that were announced before Sunday 18 April. Nine are recently announced border quarantine cases.

The new cases bring to 103 Fiji’s total cases, with 65 recoveries and two deaths, since the first case was reported on 19 March 2020. Sixty-three of these cases have been international travel-associated cases detected in border quarantine. Twenty-two cases reported since Sunday 18 April are Fiji’s first locally transmitted cases in over a year.

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