Fiji has another COVID-19 community case which has also resulted in the Health Ministry announcing new guidelines for the whole of Viti Levu while some guidelines remain for the whole country.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says after the announcement about the funeral in Tavakubu, Lautoka last Friday and Saturday, a family in Suva has come forward to let the health officials know that they had attended the funeral.
He says as of yesterday morning, one of these family members, a 40-year-old woman has tested positive for COVID-19.
The woman resides in Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham. She lives at home with her husband and five children. They are all in isolation at Navua Hospital.
Her family members have all tested negative for the virus so far.
From 10pm Tuesday through yesterday, the ministry has activated containment teams to establish a screening zone at the Wainitarawau Settlement.
Doctor Fong says the rules for the zone are simple: No one is allowed out. Those who live in this area are being allowed back in, but they must stay there.
They are screening every Fijian in that zone, and they will keep the area contained for at least the next 14 days.
He says the density of people living within the settlement make this area particularly high-risk for the spread of the virus, so they are not taking any chances.
Doctor Fong says they are still terming the Tavakubu funeral as a super spreader event.
He says this virus is as deadly as it has ever been.
Doctor Fong says it is more transmissible, and we must treat it more seriously than we ever have before.
If you were at the funeral in Tavakubu, either at the residence or at Peceliema Church, on Friday 16th April or Saturday 17th April and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has not yet contacted you, please call 158 right now.
Your life, and the lives of those you love, may be at-risk.
Please, pick up the phone and dial 158.
Higher-risk businesses, such as gyms, movie theatres, video gaming shops, cyber cafes, taverns, bars, billiard shops and amusement arcades in Viti Levu cannot open for at least the next 14 days.
Restaurants in Viti Levu may not open for in-person dining but may offer delivery and takeaway services.
The curfew hours will remain from 11pm to 4am.
Supermarkets and shops selling food and open-air markets can open so that people can buy food.
Banks, FNPF and pharmacies can open.
However, it is vital that vendors and businesses ensure strict physical distancing before opening their doors.
Make sure customers in queues are spaced out by two metres and manage crowding.
The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says all employers who can allow their employees to work from home should do so. Other businesses and places of work can open, though staff must have careFIJI downloaded on their phones. If someone does not have a smartphone, their contact tracing details must be recorded every day.
Customer-facing businesses should limit customer capacity to 50 percent.
The Permanent Secretary for Health says businesses that do not manage these risks with COVID-safe plans will be shut down.
He says the virus is here and we cannot afford to turn a crowded market into the next centre of an outbreak.
Doctor Fong says everyone should wear masks.
If you cough or sneeze, do it in your elbow or in a disposable tissue.
Report your symptoms to the nearest fever clinic.
Non-work gatherings of any size cannot take place anywhere. That includes religious services, weddings and other events. This gathering restriction applies nationwide.
However the ministry will be allowing people to hold funeral services with up to 20 people.
If you do not have an essential reason to leave your house, do not leave your house. Stay home and keep your children at home.
If you absolutely need to travel, wear a mask and make sure you have the careFIJI app switched on.
Outdoor exercise is allowed but you should only interact with other members of your household and keep a two-metre distance from all others.
Team contact sports like rugby, basketball and soccer cannot be played.
Doctor Fong says if the measures are not followed and if they see massive crowds of maskless people milling about, they will shut down entire towns and cities. From midday today, they are also suspending outbound inter-island passenger travel from Viti Levu. Passengers can travel to Viti Levu, but no one on Viti Levu can leave until these measures have expired.
Domestic passenger flights off Viti Levu have also been suspended.
As for international flights, they have suspended all passenger air travel into and out of Fiji for non-medical purposes.
Doctor Fong says we need every available room in quarantine for Fijians in Fiji at this time.
The drivers of two minibuses and the grey taxi all came forward after the descriptions of their vehicles and the times of the travel were announced on Tuesday.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the drivers came forward knowing they may have contracted the virus, and they did so because they care about their health, the health of those they love, and the health of their fellow Fijians.
He says they have since been quarantined and will be tested for COVID-19.
Doctor Fong says they all committed acts of patriotism, high responsibility, and courage, that could very well save lives.
He says they are still looking for the driver and passengers of a public minibus that transported the hotel staff and one other family member from Lautoka Mini Bus Stand to Kerebula in Nadi at around 5pm Saturday, April 17th.
They are urging people to help them identify this vehicle and driver.
Doctor Fong also says they are still seeing media outlets bypassing official sources, publishing stories without the proper context and sparking panic among the public.
He says that sort of reckless reporting can set back this entire containment strategy.
Doctor Fong says it puts lives in danger, driving people to make bad decisions with bad information.
He says we don’t deal in rumours, we rely on facts and the media must hold themselves to that same standard.
Doctor Fong says do not publish panicked nonsense for the sake of likes on Facebook or clicks on your website as the nation needs you to do better.
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