More than 800 new Fiji covid cases, 26 deaths in 48 hours

Nabouwalu jetty
A bus ferry in dock at Nabouwalu jetty ... movement restricted after first covid case in the north. Image: RNZ/wikicommons

RNZ Pacific

More than 800 cases of covid-19 have been reported in Fiji for the last 48 hours to 8am on Monday and the first case in the north has been reported.

The Fiji government also confirmed 26 deaths, bringing the toll to 394.

That compares with 958 cases and 23 deaths in the previous 48-hour period.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said 817 new cases were confirmed in both the Western and Central DivisionS on the main island of Viti Levu.

He said of the latest cases, 500 were from the west and the rest from the central.

Dr Fong said 350 new cases and 23 deaths were confirmed yesterday while 467 cases and three deaths were reported on Sunday.

He said all the victims died between August 11 and 15, and aged 43-86 years.

“We have 23 covid-19 deaths to report on Monday – 20 of them from the west and three from the central division. There were three victims from Sunday.

“The 7-day rolling average of covid deaths in the Central Division is five and 3 in the West.”

There are 208 positive patients who died but Dr Fong said their deaths were caused by pre-existing medical conditions and not due to covid-19.

Fiji now has 22,494 active cases in isolation, with more than half of them at home.

There have been 394 deaths reported, with 392 of them from this latest outbreak that began in April.

Movement restricted in north
Overnight, restriction of movement was enforced on the northern port town of Nabouwalu.

This came after the country’s second largest island – Vanua Levu – recorded its first case of covid-19 last weekend. As of midnight, movement has been restricted in the area for 14 days, the Health Ministry said.

It said contact tracing teams had identified 33 primary and 70 secondary contacts of the patient who worked at the Nabouwalu Wharf in Bua. All the contacts have tested negative for covid and remain under quarantine.

“As a precaution, an area of restricted movement will be initiated from within Nabouwalu for the next 14 days,” Dr Fong said.

“The containment area will extend from Raralevu-i-Cake to Wainisevu and along the coast of Nabouwalu Village.

“The two checkpoints maintained in the containment will be checkpoint one opposite the Nabouwalu market controlling movement into the main road that runs into the containment area and checkpoint two at Raralevu-i-cake past Nabouwalu village towards Wainunu.

“The objectives of this containment zone protocol is to facilitate heightened community surveillance, conduct more contact tracing, escalate our covid safe community engagement program and to increase vaccination coverage in targeted areas throughout the Nabouwalu containment zone.”

Dr Fong said movement into and out of the containment area would be restricted to facilitate essential service provision and access to groceries and post-office services.

He said the office of the provincial administrator and subdivisional medical teams has been carrying out community awareness on other specific movement restriction protocols.

“They will continue this awareness exercise throughout the next couple of days. The northern health team is setting up clinic sites at the Solevu Immaculate Conception Junior Secondary School, the Bua Nursing Station and the Lekutu Health Centre to cater for the health needs of those living outside the containment area.

“Nabouwalu hospital will also be used by the health teams for emergency care only.”

300 plus covid patients in hospital
There are 309 covid-19 patients admitted to hospital — 118 are at the Lautoka Hospital, 49 at the FEMAT field hospital, and 142 are at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, St Giles and Makoi hospitals.

Dr Fong said 38 patients are in severe condition and 15 critical.

A total of 652 people have been screened and 179 swabbed in the last 24 hours, “bringing our cumulative total to 456,883 individuals screened and 79,508 swabbed to date.

“As of the 15th August, 41 individuals were screened and seven swabbed. This brings our cumulative total to 790,410 individuals screened and 69,932 swabbed by our mobile teams.

“A total of 308,570 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 351, 431 tested since testing began in March 2020. 848 tests have been reported for August 15th. The 7-day daily test average is 1538 tests per day or 1.7 tests per 1000 population.”

Fiji’s seven-day average daily test positivity is 29.1 percent. The World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold is at five percent.

Dr Fong said as of 15 August, 533,705 people had received their first dose of the vaccine and 211,496 both jabs.

“This means that 91 percent of the target population have received at least one dose and 36.1 percent are now fully vaccinated nation-wide.

“We are currently doing a mop up exercise of our first dose campaign, which will allow us to specifically target specific communities with low coverage, and subsequently also correct and update the total eligible population for our current vaccination program.

“Fijians can check the Ministry’s vaccine dashboard to find real-time data on first-dose and second-dose numbers at the national, divisional and sub-divisional levels.”

Dr Fong said the average daily new cases is 429 cases per day or 485 cases per million population per day.

He said there had been a drop in cases reported per day recently. But the daily testing numbers had also decreased around the same time due to the change in testing policy in the Suva-Nausori containment zone.

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

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