Fiji suffers 5 more deaths, 404 new cases in covid crisis

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Fiji's Health Secretary Dr James Fong (left) and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
Fiji's Health Secretary Dr James Fong (left) and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ... five new deaths as the country's positivity rate reaches 9.5 percent. Image: RNZ/Fiji govt FB

RNZ Pacific

Fiji has recorded another 404 new cases of covid-19 and five deaths in the 24 hours to 8am on Friday.

Most of the new cases are from the western and central division where the capital Suva is located, according to the Health Ministry.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said two of the latest cases were detected at a quarantine facility in the northern port of Malau on Vanua Levu, the second largest island.

He said the pair were repatriates from the Central Division and are now in isolation.

Of the five deaths, one was certified to have been caused by covid-19, one caused by other illnesses while three are being investigated.

One of those who died was a 72-year-old woman from Kinoya, near Suva, who was presented to the FEMAT field hospital with severe respiratory distress.

“She had been sick at home with cough, fever and shortness of breath for at least five days before coming to the hospital. She died at the hospital that same day. She was not vaccinated,” Dr Fong said.

Twenty-five people have so far died from covid-19 in Fiji since March 2020, 23 of them since May 5 while 12 other covid-positive patients had died from other conditions that they had.

There are now 4243 positive people in isolation, 5183 cases since the delta variant outbreak started in April 2021. Since March 2020, Fiji has recorded 5253 cases with 970 recoveries.

Dr Fong said a full breakdown of areas of interest has been published online on the ministry’s covid-19 dashboard and on the Fiji government Facebook page. The approximate locations of the new cases are also at this link: http://bit.ly/3vE2ZBb

NFP leader Biman Prasad.
Opposition NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad … government has “completely lost the plot”. Image: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

NFP slams goverment strategy
The government has “completely lost the plot and meekly surrendered its innocent citizens to the throes of a deadly pandemic”, said the opposition National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad.

In a statement, he said two ministries – Health and Trade – had contradicted each other in terms of the government’s mitigation strategy to tackle covid-19 in Fiji.

Dr Prasad, who is a professor in economics, said Dr Fong had repeatedly emphasised the need for people to stay at home and only move around for essential services like purchasing food, medicine, seeking medical treatment or exercise.

“But the Trade Minister Faiyaz Koya has revealed they are looking at reopening not only retail businesses but allowing restaurants, food courts and gymnasiums to be fully operational under ‘covid-safe’ measures,” the NFP leader said.

“This is the height of incompetency in a government whose leader has said in Parliament that ‘nobody gives a damn’ when asked by NFP parliamentarians to reset their moral compass and show leadership.”

Dr Prasad said the opposition would continue to call for the government to change its strategy.

Positivity rate up
Meanwhile, the country’s daily test positivity rate is now at 9.5 percent and continues on an upward trend. The World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold is at 5 percent.

However, Dr Fong said the ministry’s vaccination campaign continued to gain ground with 309,293 adults (53 percent) now inoculated with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 49,876 had received their second doses.

“The ministry repeats its advice that Fijians take the necessary steps to protect themselves until an adequate number of people are protected through vaccination.

“Fijians also need to be particularly vigilant in protecting people who are most vulnerable to severe infection including the elderly, people with weakened or compromised immune systems, and people suffering from other serious conditions.”

Fiji facts

  • 25 deaths due to covid-19 in Fiji (since March 2020), 23 of these deaths were during the outbreak that started in April this year.
  • 12 positive patients who died from conditions that they had before they contracted the virus.
  • 52 new recoveries reported since the last update.
  • 4243 active cases in isolation.
  • 5183 cases during the outbreak that started in April 2021.
  • 5253 cases in Fiji since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 970 recoveries.

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

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