Suva-Nausori put on 56-hour curfew as Fiji records 50th active case

Fijian authorities instituted a snap 56-hour lockdown along the Suva-Nausori corridor, beginning 8pm Friday evening, as it recorded its 50th active case stemming from one of two cases in Ra the source of which are still to be established.

Confirmation of the lockdown, described by Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong as a “medical necessity” and extends from Tamavua-i-wai to Logani village, did not come until about 30 minutes before it came into force. Dr Fong said the delay in announcing the lockdown could not be avoided as there were logistical requirements that needed to be addressed to facilitate works to identify and screen contacts of confirmed positive cases including 877 employees of two garment factories in the Kalabu Tax-Free Zone.

Employees from these two garment factories, Lyndhurst and Mark One apparel, travel to and from work on the same company-provided transportation, and as such deemed ”potential source points” for further transmission.

The 877 garment workers were identified after investigations into the travel history of the 52-year-old woman from Vunimono, or patient 113, and whose positive diagnosis was announced on Thursday this week. Of the 877 workers, authorities have been able to track down 321, with no positive cases recorded.

“There are still hundreds of employees we need to contact. The vast majority of these individuals reside in the Suva and Nausori areas. We cannot waste another minute locating the rest of them. To allow my teams to find these Fijians quickly, we will be locking down the Suva and Nausori Containment zones until 4am Monday morning,” Dr Fong said. “If you work at the Lyndhurst or the Mark One Apparel factory and my teams have not been in contact with you yet – please call 158 now to help us reach you as quickly as possible.” 

“If you recollect my speech I did say that there’s a good chance that we could have a lockdown. What happened was, that we tried to collect data last night to inform us whether our lockdown was necessary. Unfortunately, it turned out that the data that we had last night there was a lot of missing information in terms of contact details

“The team ran around last night trying to find as many individuals as possible and so we had a lack of data in the morning. But this afternoon finally at around one o’clock today then we were able to get a full idea of the contact details. Now that we know what we have to do together with the contact details. Then we look at it and we decided no, we can’t do this, because people are spread wide. We can’t do this just by going to one locality or two localities if it’s too spread out so then we move towards announcing the lockdown. So from three o’clock, then we have to start organizing, reorganising a lot of other logistics to support this lockdown from 8pm.”

Rather than having two separate containment zones, authorities consolidated the Suva and Nausori containment areas, which meant removing the checkpoint at the 8 miles bridge near Rups Big Bear.  Police will operate checkpoints at Logani Village, Sawani and Tamavua-i-wai Bridge (Delainavesi).

Meanwhile, the new confirmed case reported Friday is the wife of patient number 110 — the first individual in Ra who tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

This case brings to three the total number of cases reported in Ra, forming two clusters. With this latest case, there are now 50 active cases in isolation.

Suva-Nausori Contaiment Zone

  • No one should leave his or her homes
    • Not parents, not breadwinners, and not children
  • Without Ministry approval you can only move out from your home for medical emergencies, this exemption will include kidney dialysis patients.
  • No businesses, including supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies are allowed to be open.
  • Some essential services, like water, power, ports, and private hospitals, will be allowed to operate with authorisation granted by the ministry.
  • Deliveries across the lockdown zone borders will also go on hold
  • Government has ordered food packs that will be delivered throughout the lockdown area for Fijians who run out of food.
    1. If you live in the lockdown area and need to access this emergency food supply, you can call toll-free number 161 from 9am Saturday morning, 1 May 2021. Please be patient, your calls will be answered. To keep things efficient, please make sure you have details, like your name, location and number of family members, readily available. Deliveries will be scheduled throughout the course of the weekend. We will come to you — so there is no need to leave your home.

For the rest of Fiji

  • Essential businesses such as supermarkets are open
  • Essential movement is allowed
  • Normal curfew hours from 11 pm to 4 am apply.
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