The Suva and Nausori containment zone is set to go into a full 77-hour lockdown, effective 11 pm tomorrow Friday 14 May, while the rest of Viti Levu will observe new curfew hours’ from Saturday 15 May after nine new cases were detected including three more from a supermarket in Suva who together potentially infected several hundred others.
This is the second lockdown for the Suva-Nausori area in a matter of weeks to allow Fijian authorities to track down “several hundred primary and secondary” contacts emanating from the new cases, three of which are employees of Extra Supermarket.
The three supermarket workers are believed to have contracted the virus from a work colleague, in one of 12 cases announced on Tuesday 11 May in Makoi.
“We are already locating them and testing them in droves. We expect many more of these individuals to register positive test results,” Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said.
During the full lockdown period, the Suva and Nausori zones will merge into one single containment zone. A new curfew time from 6 pm to 4 am will be enforced for the rest of Viti Levu from Saturday, while for areas outside of Viti Levu, curfew hours remain the same, from 11 pm to 4 am.
Meanwhile, the supermarket remains closed and all staff and management are being tested. Health officials have advised members of the public who have been to Extra Supermarket, or Hansons Supermarket in Makoi over the past two weeks to self-isolate while contact tracing teams investigate potential contacts.
“Extra Supermarket operates with a well-enforced policy of mask-wearing and mandated that all staff and customers have the CareFiji App installed, with the Bluetooth turned on. Or that contact tracing details were registered. That is allowing us to identify hundreds of contacts very quickly” Dr Fong said.
Five of the nine cases are from the Nausori Containment zone and all cases are currently unlinked to previous clusters. The first case is an individual from Vunimono who tested positive at the Nausori Health Center. Two of the cases are family members from Lakena Village in Nausori who also presented to the Nausori Health Center with Covid symptoms. Two of their household members have also tested positive for the Virus.
“One of these individuals worked at the Nausori Market as a vendor. That space is currently being decontaminated as I speak,” Dr Fong said.
The last confirmed case is a border quarantine staff, the case last tested negative on 1 May. The source of transmission is unknown at the moment and no one will be discharged from that quarantine facility until investigations are complete.
Dr Fong says that the series of new clusters will require large contact tracing efforts by Health officials, especially the cluster stemming from Extra Supermarket. However, Extra Supermarket differs from the garment factory contact tracing because of the data collected by the CareFiji App, and Covid safe protocols that Extra had put in place. The Data collected from Extra allows Health officials to have a more targeted and precise tracing of contacts.
“At the moment we believe that the vast majority of these remaining contacts are located within the Suva-Nausori area. So that is where a targeted lockdown will come into effect starting from this weekend,” Dr Fong said.