A 47 year old woman is the second person to contract COVID-19 in Fiji and is also the first local transmission of the virus.
The Lautoka resident is the mother of the 27 year old flight attendant who is patient number 1.
She and 10 other of patient 1’s family are in the COVID-19 isolation ward of Nadi Hospital.
Patient 1 remains in stable condition at the Lautoka Hospital where he has been kept since he presented himself there already showing symptoms on Tuesday March 17 .
While delivering an update on the COVID-19 situation, Prime Minister Bainimarama said the 11 members of patient 1’s household were taken to the isolation ward at Nadi Hospital when they were picked up on Thursday during the contact tracing exercise undertaken on Thursday.
“These individuals were transported in a secure, hygienic medical vehicle directly to the isolation ward at Nadi Hospital. There was zero contact made with any persons in Nadi or anywhere outside of the Lautoka confined area,” he said.
Four members of the household displayed symptoms after they were isolated, after which they were tested. Once the mother tested positive, she was then isolated within the COVID-19 ward, away from the rest of her family.
The other 10 patients remain in isolation for the next 12 days. World Health Organisation recommends a 14 day quarantine period for suspected of having contracted the novel coronavirus.
Among the family are four children and according to PM Bainimarama, the youngest is a 1 year old toddler.
The second patient was asymptomatic when first isolated and it was only after she and three others started to display flu-like symptoms, did the medical staff test for COVID-19.
Aalisha SahuKhan, the government’s Head of Health Protection clarified that those isolated to contain the spread of the virus are only tested when they display symptoms of the disease.
“We know from the experience of other countries that those most at risk of catching COVId-19 are household contacts because you are living in close proximity to other people, it’s likely that one person can spread it to others living in the house,” she said.
“This is not unexpected. This is why the Ministry of Health and Medical Services moved very quickly to isolate his entire household at Nadi Hospital as soon as we knew that we had a confirmed case. Both of these cases are in stable condition in Lautoka Hospital and Nadi Hospital.”