New case in Makoi, is also the eighth COVID19 case with unknown origin in Fiji

A woman from Kalokalo Cresent in Makoi tested positive for coronavirus today and became the eighth case of unknown origin reported in the country as Fijian authorities have yet to link it back to any of the existing clusters.

This Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says indicates that the virus could still be present in all six containment areas – Lautoka, Nadi, Rakiraki, Lami, Suva and Nausori – and as such underlined the need for the borders and other restrictions in place to be maintained, “until the data tells us to proceed in a different direction.”

The other seven cases still being investigated to determine the source of infection include the second Ra case (case 116), the 25-year-old doctor from Lautoka Hospital (case 120), the 25-year-old nurse from Lautoka (case 126), the 47-year-old nurse from Raiwaqa Health Centre (case 127), a 30-year-old woman from Field 40 in Lautoka (case 130), and a 35-year-old man from Saru in Lautoka (case 136). One of those cases, particular for which was not released, recently recovered but is still being investigated likewise case 125 (Fiji’s third COVID19 death). Until proven otherwise, these cases are considered community transmission in nature.

Dr Fong said samples have been sent for genomic sequencing to determine their link to the main cluster and, in time, a source, that would enable authorities to narrow down the contacts and prevent further transmission.

“We will try to see whether the genomic sequencing makes them similar, and that will help us to some extent. But, I can guess at some point we can only endeavour to go as far as we can. And if we can’t get that it means responding to the new case,” Dr Fong said. “The reason why we want the source point is only because from the case to the source point if we track it from there we can actually find more contacts. If you can’t…then you just react to what we see. “

Dr. Fong did not provide a timeline as to when results of the genomic sequencing will be made available, only saying that the process “is never fast”, and one that they will not sit around to wait for, but make a move on it and respond to as if they are community transmissions “because that is the safest way to.”

“If we do get the sequence and if the sequencing, or if the evolution of the infection is tracked adequately from its source and we find other areas that we can work with that can allow us to narrow down our response we will do that.”

This latest case is at least the 12 to be reported in Makoi, since the start of this new wave of infections on 17 April 2021, including a household, that has been linked to two positive cases in Vunimono and one that was recently recorded in Narere.

In the meantime, movement across Viti Levu remains restricted for essential purposes only “to limit mixing between people.”

“We are dealing with a highly transmissible variant and several unknown chains of transmission, so we want people to operate in “bubbles” and stay in their bubbles as much as possible.”

Meanwhile, three more recoveries were reported today, all of which are locally transmitted cases, bringing up the total active case numbers to 36 of which seven are border quarantine, and 23 locally transmitted.

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