Fijian authorities have confirmed two new COVID19 cases which included the son of the country’s 19th case and a woman, both in their late 30s, who were on the same repatriation flight from India last week.
The 37-year man is believed to have contracted the virus from his 66-year-old father also known as the country’s 19th case. The woman, aged 36 years developed mild symptoms and tested positive.
The new covid19 cases bring to 21 Fiji’s total cases, of which 18 had recovered and cleared. The latest cases have been classified as border quarantine cases, and form the country’s fifth cluster of infections. Authorities maintain this round of infection is contained and poses no risk of entering the Fijian community.
Meanwhile, the father and son have been transferred to Lautoka Hospital given the older male’s pre-existing health conditions and advanced age.
The repatriation flight from India arrived into Fiji on Wednesday, July 1. The older man developed symptoms of the virus three days into his 14-day mandatory quarantine period. He was tested and confirmed positive for the virus on Sunday after which he was moved to Nadi Hospital’s isolation unit with his son.
Call for compassion
Acting Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong and Head of Fiji’s CDC Dr. Aalisha SahuKhan confirmed the two most recent cases, both visibly upset as they called on the public to be humane.
“Please have some compassion for our returning citizens. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine if it was your parent. These are our people returning. And we need to look after our people,” Dr. Sahu Khan said.
“And what we, this government has been very clear about right from the beginning is that we will not turn our back on our own citizens who are out there.”
Dr. Fong has appealed for better behaviour and said senior health authorities have seen many ‘irrational’ remarks on social media.
“One of the reasons i am emotional today is because i have seen comments which seem irrational me. Nobody appreciates the fact that we all have to make difficult decisions,” he said,
“We are trying to balance the risk of COVID-19 and balancing the risk of more people going into poverty by trying to open up a few more borders, trying to get people to engage in socio economic activity. You know, life is difficult because nobody wants to take a step one way or the other.”
“Nobody appreciates the fact that we all have to make difficult decisions. The road ahead is not known. And we have to be together.”
Public testing ongoing
Meanwhile Dr. Sahu Khan described an elaborate community surveillance effort which continued over the past 79 days when there were no active cases.
Watch snippets from the press conference here.