No new COVID19 cases, but Fiji is far from clear: Dr Fong

No new coronavirus cases were recorded after 1,212 tests and 7,560 screenings over the last 24 hours, but Fiji’s Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong reiterates that this is no cause for celebration as the threat still remains.

“It doesn’t mean there are no cases out there, it means none had been detected over 24 hours,” Dr Fong said.

The ministry is certain that more cases will arise, and that Fijians should not let their guards down. Authorities are worried that some Fijians may have already developed symptoms and have not reported to a screening clinic or contacted the ministry.

“This is a matter of when, not if we detect additional cases. So, while it is a glimmer of hope, the road ahead is still far from clear,” Dr Fong said.

Since the Lockdown of the Suva – Nausori containment zone began on Friday afternoon, the ministry’s contact tracing teams have worked tirelessly through torrential rain in an effort to locate and screen the 877 workers of the two garment factories, who were contacts of case 113.

“Of her 877 contacts, ninety-five percent (95%) have been contacted, screened and swabbed. Including all her closest contacts who shared her bus, and worked in close proximity with her in the factory. They will all remain under home quarantine for at least fourteen days, from their last contact with the case. We have 611 who have tested negative for COVID 19 so far, and more samples are being run as we speak,” said Dr. Fong.

Based on current status quo, the Suva-Nausori lockdown looks good to be lifted at 4am tomorrow as scheduled.

However, Dr Fong warns that this could change if the contact tracing teams are not able to screen all, or majority of the remaining five per cent of the garment factory workers who have not been screened, or if further tests reveal a new high-risk case.

“At this stage we are confident that we can identify the remaining contacts in Suva and Nausori, and lift the lockdown on schedule” said Dr. Fong.

The public will be notified through media platforms if there are any changes to the lockdown measures by midnight tonight. 

Dr. Fong says that if the lockdown measures are lifted at 4 am tomorrow morning, the Suva and Nausori containment zones will revert back to two separate containments zones. The Suva Containment Area and the Nausori Containment Area, the borders of the areas are unchanged and the checkpoint at Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi will be reinstated.

Curfew hours will remain from 11pm to 4am and Dr. Fong urges all Fijians to stay home unless they have an essential reason to leave. The Health Ministry will not hesitate to reinstate similar lockdown measures if they see serious threats to the wellbeing of the public, he warns.

Fiji’s active cases remain at 49 of which 16 are border quarantine cases, 31 are locally transmitted cases, and two are under investigation to determine the source of transmission.

Total active cases in isolation = 49 (16 border quarantine cases, 31 locally transmitted cases, 2 under investigation)
Source: Ministry of Health Fiji

Fiji has had 119 cases in total, with 68 recoveries and two deaths, since the first case was reported on 19 March 2020.

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