Three senior Fiji Ministry of Health staff contract covid-19 – 35 new cases

Fiji's Dr James Fong and Dr Aalisha Sahukhan
Fiji's Health Secretary Dr James Fong was photographed this week in the so-called covid pandemic “War Room” without a mask and in close contact with senior Fiji Military Forces leaders. Beside Dr Fong, but with a mask, was Health Protection head Dr Aalisha Sahukhan. Image: The Pacific Newsroom

By Lice Movono, RNZ Pacific correspondent in Suva

Three senior members of Fiji’s Ministry of Health have tested positive for covid-19, taking Friday’s total new cases to 35.

The three are part of the operations in the Covid-19 Incident Management Team and work in its leadership group, including senior advisers to Health Secretary Dr James Fong.

Responding to enquiries from RNZ Pacific, the Ministry of Health confirmed the reports.

It said all staff operating from Level 3 of its headquarters have been told to “stand-down”.

“The primary contacts have been identified and safely quarantined.

The services of the Covid-19 Incident Management Team will continue with contingency plans activated.

The Health Ministry is also informing the public that Dr Fong will be issuing daily statements during this period, and will provide updates on the covid situation from the Ministry of Health as and when required.”

Meanwhile, the three staff are part of 35 new cases recorded yesterday. The Ministry of Health said there were now 378 active cases in total.

The new cases include 10 more patients from the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in the capital Suva although it is not clear if they were staff or existing patients.

There are also 11 more cases from Lami which had been until last week – covid free. The other cases include 2 more from the Navy cluster, 5 from Navosai outside Nasinu Town and 1 from Nadali in Nausori.

Dr Fong said in his Friday evening statement that the Ministry of Health would continue to conduct contact tracing, screening and testing aggressively, “which is our best defence against community spread until we reach our vaccination goals.”

There have been 571 cases since the pandemic began and 501 have been from this current outbreak which began in April.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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