Fiji babies test positive for covid-19 as health officials report 121 new cases

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Sawani containment border, Fiji 170621
A Fiji police officer manning the Sawani containment border area. Image: Viliame Ravai/Fiji Times

By Siteri Sauvakacolo in Lautoka, Fiji

Six infants who tested positive to covid-19 are in stable condition at Lautoka Hospital in the west of Fiji.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong confirmed this to The Fiji Times this week. The infants and their mothers were from a community in lockdown in Nadi.

They were recently assisted with basic supplies by the Foundation of the Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND). A post on the FRIEND Fiji official social media page said they responded to a request for assistance from the community in lockdown in Nadi.

FRIEND Fiji then facilitated the request after a donor purchased baby essential packs.

The packages were delivered to the mothers in need last Thursday.

“We pray for the speedy recovery of infants and their mothers,” FRIEND Fiji said in a recent Facebook post.

“Please keep them in your prayers.”

Mothers, babies transferred
Meanwhile, Dr Fong also confirmed that some mothers and babies from the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s (CWMH) Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in Suva had been transferred to Lautoka Hospital because of escalating covid-19 cases at the CWMH.

While he could not confirm the numbers, he said, however, that the ministry had activated that contingency protocol.

RNZ Pacific reports there have been 121 new covid-19 cases confirmed in Fiji as health officials identify two new clusters.

The total number since the outbreak started in April is now 1373.

Dr Fong said a new cluster had been identified within the Rewa Emergency Operations Centre, possibly linked to the Vunimono cluster.

Fiji Village Online reports there are two new cases for this cluster.

A new cluster is also at the Town House Hotel in Suva where Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital and Incident Management Team (IMT) staff are being accommodated.

Two key issues
In an editorial about lockdowns and sticking to the covid rules, The Fiji Times stressed that two issues stood out in the face of the announcement of new covid-19 cases.

While there was great importance placed on the announcement of the daily figures, other issues had also been raised on different platforms, the Times said.

“For instance, the Head of Health Protection, Dr Aaalisha Sahukhan, said lockdowns [had] not contained the spread of covid-19 in the Lami-Suva area,” the newspaper said.

While it was an important tool, Dr Sahukhan had pointed out, it had had a socio-economic impact on the population.

She had shared her view during a webinar on covid-19 organised by the Fiji National University.

“We’re coming to a point now where from the health perspective, yes lockdowns are an important tool, but also we have come to a limit of applying those lockdowns because of the impact on the community,” Dr Sahukhan said.

The capital had gone through periods of extreme lockdowns “which we call curfew lockdowns [lasting] as long as four days.

“Unfortunately, even this level of lockdowns and our containment efforts has not contained the effect within the Lami-Suva area.”

Republished with permission.

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