Health warns of severe third wave as COVID measures are ignored

covid 19 mask protection

Fiji’s Ministry of Health has expressed concern over non-adherence to COVID-safe protocols, warning of the increasing likelihood of a severe third wave of coronavirus cases affecting the country if safety measures continue to be “flouted and ignored” particularly over the holiday season.

In their latest update, Fiji Police fined 538 people between 1 November and 15 November for failing to wear a mask in busy public places, and 23 others were fined because they were not wearing a mask whilst travelling in a public service vehicle.

“We do expect the third wave of cases because of excessive gatherings that are going to happen over Christmas and New Year and we continue to prepare to have the wave of severe cases in hospitals,” Dr Fong said.

He further says that the only way to ensure that the third wave is small, and one that we learn to live with and learn from is if people embrace society-wide promotion and compliance with COVID safe measures.

“Whilst the easing of restrictions is needed to facilitate social and economic livelihood, the public must ensure that together with vaccination, we should continue to observe our COVID safe measures and avoid contained spaces and crowds to avoid the risk of increased spread of the virus,” Dr Fong said.

Vaccination Update

Meanwhile the latest vaccination update show a slow increase in vaccine uptake amongst the eligible adult population, whereas the rate among children aged 15 to 17, is reassuring.

“It is also reassuring to see that more than 10,500 doses of Pfizer have been deployed over six days despite the many cold chain complexities involved in the Pfizer deployment. Whilst the demand for Pfizer deployment in children has been extremely encouraging and we applaud the enthusiasm of parents to get their children protected, we ask that the public be patient. 

“We have deliberately brought in our Pfizer stocks in small batches to ensure we stay within our ultra-cold chain capacity as we learn to adjust to the Pfizer requirements and ensure that the changes, we make are sustainable enough to ensure ongoing access to Pfizer for all our children.

“There has also been the limited deployment of Moderna booster doses to all adults over 60 years, to those under 60 years with significant morbidity, and those under 60 in the frontline.”

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