Two COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in isolation while an additional 25,064 Fijians were screened through the Health Ministry’s mobile screening teams and at screening clinics since Friday.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says after another 1026 tests, they have confirmed the two new cases.
They are the 5-year-old and the 15-year-old daughters of the mother from Cunningham.
Doctor Fong says both cases were confirmed in isolation, and their first tests were negative, which means they do not pose a risk to the public and bear no implication on the existing programme of contact tracing.
He says the entire family of the person in Cunningham who contracted COVID-19 has also contracted the virus - 7 household members in total.
The Permanent Secretary says let that be a lesson in how transmissible this variant is and how vital it is that measures are followed by everyone.
He says they generally prefer more targeted measures, and the ministry will be able to implement them once they have a handle on chains of transmission.
The Permanent Secretary says right now, a lockdown is a prescription that Suva and Nausori need.
He says there are 877 contacts of case 113, the garment factory worker, which are split between two factories -Lyndhurst and Mark One Apparel.
Doctor Fong says of the 877 total contacts, 833 have been screened and swabbed.
477 have tested negative with the remaining samples due to be tested.
He confirms that all primary contacts will be retested during their mandatory 14 days of quarantine, which begins from their last contact with the case.
More samples have been received from yesterday’s contact tracing.
Today, they will know whether or not the testing reveals that the lockdown will arrive at its scheduled conclusion at 4am Monday.
He also says their lockdown got off to a wet start last night, which did hinder the contact tracing and swabbing throughout Suva and Nausori, but they are rapidly making up that ground.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the current commitments for the COVID-19 vaccine doses for the country can cover 484,000 Fijians.
He says we need to cover 650,000 people.
Doctor Fong says they expect 64,800 of the 100,800 doses pledged by COVAX to arrive by June.
New Zealand has pledged half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Fiji.
We have received 100,000 doses from India and expect to receive the first shipment of 10,000 doses from Australia as early as next week, with other shipments arriving monthly.
The Permanent Secretary says they are grateful for the commitments they have received for vaccines so far, but they are not enough, nor are they coming soon enough, and the government is working with our international partners on new commitments
He says with an outbreak already upon us, the urgency of achieving widespread immunity grows daily.
Doctor Fong also stresses that no one in Fiji is fully vaccinated.
You need two doses of these vaccines to be fully vaccinated, and then need to wait an additional two weeks for its full response within your immune system to take effect.
He says only once every Fijian, who is eligible, achieves that level of immunity, will Fiji truly be safe from this deadly virus.
The Permanent Secretary says it is not easy to give up the normal activities of daily life and remain at home, but if we all make this effort, we can stop this virus once again and return to those normal activities--to go to work, see family and friends, do our shopping, play sports.
He stresses that no government can defeat this virus alone as it takes the effort of an entire nation to stop it in its tracks, and that means that every Fijian depends on every other Fijian to do their part in the lockdown zone, in the containment areas, and all across Fiji.
Doctor Fong says this is like a war, defeat is unthinkable, and compromise is impossible.
He says we have to win, and we will win but we will need everyone’s best effort.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they received 100,000 calls as of noon today on their COVID-19 Food Ration Hotline and he is disappointed to learn that they had several members of the same households inundating the number with calls.
He says they were clear yesterday that food is distributed on a household-by-household basis.
Doctor Fong says attempts to game the system only succeed at delaying the delivery of food to Fijians with a genuine need.
He says that selfishness has serious consequences for those who need this assistance.
The Permanent Secretary also highlights that to ease the economic hardship of the lockdown, trucks carrying 5,000 food ration packs were loaded and shipped throughout the Suva-Nausori Lockdown Zone before sunrise today.
They are currently making delivery runs to families with a genuine need for food supply.
Doctor Fong says they have an e-mail address available to help divert some of the call volume.
He says if you can use e-mail, please do as it is the fastest way the teams can get into contact with you.
You can send your name, address, the number of people in your household, and your mobile number to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Health Ministry’s investigations into the two unconnected clusters in the Ra Province may require more stringent measures in the near future.
Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong says for now, Fijians within that containment should be on high alert.
He says anyone outside of their home should be treated as a potential COVID-positive patient.
Doctor Fong says you are safest at home, and that is where you should stay.
If you need to leave, wear a mask, keep your distance from others, and keep careFIJI switched on at all times.
He also wants to make an appeal to the rural communities.
Doctor Fong says sometimes they think remoteness can protect them, but remoteness provides no protection when people are circulating through the country.
He says a number of communities have taken the step of adopting lockdown measures of their own.
The Permanent Secretary says this is a prudent and responsible action under the current circumstances.
The Ra Containment Area was established yesterday, which limits movement in the province, but does allow for essential businesses to remain open.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong is urging everyone, if you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline number 1560, or the child helpline at 1325.
He says help will come to you.
Doctor Fong says when it comes to COVID, staying at home is the safest course for all of us but in Fiji and around the world, we know there is an ugly side to lockdown measures.
He says without proper resources and support, they can make the already vulnerable more vulnerable than ever.
Doctor Fong also says Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has called domestic violence an ugly scourge on our society.
He says the Prime Minister is absolutely right and during a crisis, we know these horrific crimes can occur more often.
Doctor Fong says someone, right now, is stuck at home with an abuser - that is a tragic reality that we cannot turn away from.
You can call at any time, any day of the week, to report a crime.
Even if you just need someone to talk to, call either of those numbers – 1560 or 1325.
That applies to children, for women, and for men as well.
The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says one of the groups of people that they owe a lot to is the military who do a lot of the heavy lifting for them.
He says members of the military have worked tirelessly.
Doctor Fong adds the military does the heavy lifting so that others can just carry a pen and paper and write things down during contact tracing.
He adds at the moment there are only a few military people that are not part of their operation.
Doctor Fong says the Army Commander has already said that he can deploy more military personnel.
The Permanent Secretary adds its a huge operation when you consider each military personnel accompanying at least two health personnel.
Health officials managed to screen and swab 95 percent of the group of people that they wanted to get despite the heavy rain experienced in the Suva-Nausori containment area
This is confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong when questioned if there are any plans if it continues to rain throughout the 56 hours lockdown period.
Doctor Fong says he thinks they have done fairly well they need to get the last 44 people to be screened and swabbed.
He says he is concerned if the heavy rain causes flooding.
Doctor Fong says this means that they will have to escalate all the COVID-19 safety measures that relate to the evacuation centres that is not an easy task but it has been done before.
The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong says they have most of the travel history of the man who had tested positive for COVID-19 and had traveled within the community in Nadi and Lautoka.
The man and his wife had gone to the Tavakubu funeral and were announced as positive cases on the 25th of last month.
Dr.Fong says they have his immediate contacts but they are trying to investigate the potential casual contacts.
Dr.Fong says they have enough information to say that the garment factory worker poses a bigger concern than the man.
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