Tent-care facilities till widespread vaccination & death numbers drop

Temporary COVID-care facilities such as tents shown in a widely shared video that has drawn a mixture of outrage and horror over the conditions in which patients are being cared for will continue to be used until more Fijians are vaccinated and the risks of severe disease and deaths due to COVID are lower, Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said.

Addressing the nation in a statement this evening, Dr Fong said the facility was set up to bolster the ministry’s COVID-19 treatment capacity.

The video, taken by a COVID-19 patient at one of the tent facilities in the vicinity of the CWM Hospital, showed the corpse of a positive patient who had died hours before, according to the person taking the video and had not been removed. The patient also showed the condition of the toilets and bathroom used by COVID-19 positives and as she moved about the patient appeared to have come in close proximity with visitors to the hospital and even likened the freedom at which she has been allowed to move around to a tourist.

“We are now in the midst of a wave of COVID-19 infections and, like most countries around the world, we have had to rapidly expand our health facilities by using these tents to care for COVID-19 patients and to ensure that all those who need beds and access to ventilators can have it,” Dr Fong said,

“Even in developed countries, similar measures have been taken. Many people’s lives have been saved in those temporary facilities and we will continue to rely on their use until more Fijians are vaccinated and, as a direct result, the risks of severe disease and death due to COVID in Fiji are much lower.

“As an independent civil servant, I find it very disheartening that some people, including media organizations, have sought to undermine this obvious and essential step to treat COVID-positive patients. “

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