Pacific correspondent Dreaver says Fiji leader ‘missing in action’ in covid crisis


Fiji’s infrastructure could collapse if the people continue to take covid health advisories lightly, according to the United Nations resident coordinator. Video: TVNZ Breakfast

Asia Pacific Report news desk

Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver has told the TVNZ Breakfast show medical authorities are “fighting a losing battle” in Fiji, reports TVNZ News.

Yesterday, Fiji recorded 279 new covid-19 cases and four new deaths – its highest daily record.

But tonight the Health Ministry confirmed a further death and a new record of 308 new cases, with 297 of them from the Lami-Suva-Nausori containment zone and 11 from Tramline Nadi.

According to FBC News, Fiji’s UN resident coordinator for the Pacific, Sanaka Samarasinha, said an infrastructure collapse could be expected if people continued to take advisories lightly.

He was also quoted saying that the rate of cases being recorded in Fiji was concerning as authorities battled the more contagious Delta variant.

Dreaver told Breakfast that the outbreak had “that feel of being uncontrolled”.

She said 20 people had actually died from the illness but had not been properly recorded.

‘Died of other things’
“Authorities there aren’t counting [an additional] nine cases because they say they died of other things,” she said.

“I mean, a week ago, we’re looking at an average of 65 cases a day being diagnosed – we’re now looking at 166 and it’s just a week later. It really does feel bad.”

Dreaver said the Fiji Ministry of Health expressed concerns yesterday about a second wave amid a rise in covid cases which had contracted the more infectious Delta variant.

“What we already know – and officials are saying – it’s going to get worse, and the reason that they know that is because people who are turning up positive come from really crowded settlements and so there is this huge fear, and rightly so, that there’s just so many more people who are infected,” she said.

Targeted containment areas had been put in place in lieu of strict lockdown measures.

Dreaver said many of the medical authorities had been infected with covid-19 and the hospital “is a covid centre,” with New Zealand and Australian teams deployed to provide aid.

‘I’m worried about Fiji’
“I am seriously worried about Fiji, as is everybody.”

She added that while 45 percent of the population had received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, both doses must be taken to be effective.

Dreaver called for stronger leadership, with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama “missing in action”, leaving Health Secretary Dr James Fong to front the crisis.

“I think the medical authorities there are fighting a losing battle and they’re doing the best they can.”

Republished with permission.

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