The third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that the first patient’s one-year old nephew has also contracted the virus.
Bainimarama says luckily, once again, this patient was not showing symptoms until they were in isolation, vastly cutting the odds they passed the virus onto others.
The mortality rate among the young is especially low, around the world, coronavirus has largely gone undetected in children and infants, as they display only mild symptoms.
But Bainimarama says as today’s case shows, no age group or demographic is immune to contracting or spreading the virus.
He says while the baby’s case may seem heartbreaking, what is truly frightening is the scenario that could have unfolded if the situation had been handled differently, and the first patient’s entire household wasn’t immediately put into isolation as soon as he tested positive.
Bainimarama says every grandparent, great-grandparent, uncle, aunt and neighbour who held this precious, fourteen-month-old baby boy in their arms could have easily been infected, all with just a drop of spittle, burp or cough.
He says while statistics show that babies will recover, for the more vulnerable in our society, this simple act of affection could be a death sentence.
The Prime Minister says by the grace of God, the government’s aggressive contact tracing exercise has so far proven very effective, identifying two additional patients who were already safely placed in isolation.
We have 3 confirmed cases of COVID19 in Fiji. One imported and 2 direct contacts of the first case. All other tests so far for suspected cases are negative. #TogetherWeCan— Dr I Waqainabete (@Nadokoulu) March 23, 2020
Fiji has confirmed our third case of #COVID19, the first patient’s one-year-old nephew. Once again, this new patient did not display any symptoms until after he was placed into isolation.— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) March 23, 2020
All three patients are in stable condition.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama stresses that the 20 people limit on gatherings applies to weddings, parties, concerts, sports events, religious services, funerals - everything, and there are no exceptions.
Bainimarama stresses that none of these plans are more important than people’s lives.
He says you may live outside of Lautoka, or outside of Viti Levu, and feel that you can still gather and celebrate, safe from harm.
The Prime Minister says this mentality is stupid, as you are harming yourself.
He says it is destructive, as you are putting the integrity of the government’s containment measures in jeopardy, and it is selfish, as you are putting the lives of others at risk.
Bainimarama says the government has announced a ban on any gatherings of 20 or more people.
Workplaces, banks, supermarkets, open-air markets, pharmacies and other areas where essential services are offered are fine for now, given you keep a safe distance apart.
He says restaurant owners should also cut their seating capacity to be within our 20-person limit, keep tables hygienic and safely spaced apart, and better yet switch to delivery.
Bainimarama says for those who already offer take-away or delivery, do it more. For all others, try offering this service for the first time.
He says the border protection measures in the Lautoka confined area remain in full effect.
The Fiji Police are monitoring checkpoints at the King’s Road at Matuwalu Junction, the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction and the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction.
International shipping services to the Lautoka port are all diverted to Suva except for those that deliver goods exclusively for food and manufacturing purposes only for the Lautoka confined area.
The Commissioner for Police will also be overseeing the safe and hygienic off and on-loading of all goods into Lautoka, and he is the main contact for the exporters and importers who qualify.
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