Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says the results of positive samples sent to the Doherty Institute in Melbourne for genomic sequencing have confirmed, as expected, that we have community transmission throughout Fiji of both Omicron and Delta variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
He stresses that Omicron is vastly more infectious than Delta and as such, in keeping with what we see in other countries, Omicron will become the dominant variant.
Doctor Fong adds as Omicron spreads very fast, you should assume you are infected and self-isolate, if you develop any cold/flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body ache and fever.
He further says if you have any of these symptoms, please stay home to prevent infecting others, especially those who may be more at risk of severe disease.
Doctor Fong stresses that you should get tested if you can, but especially if you are at higher risk of severe disease.
He says you are at higher risk of severe disease if you are over the age of 50 or have any significant chronic disease like heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension or you are obese or pregnant.
If anyone in your home is at higher risk of developing severe disease, please try to isolate yourself away from them.
Doctor Fong adds Omicron has been shown to escape immunity from infection induced by previous infection or vaccination.
He stresses that this means that people that have been previously infected by other variants or have been fully vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, can get infected with Omicron.
Doctor Fong adds however, Omicron is more likely to cause milder disease, with data from the UK and South Africa showing that the risk of hospitalization with Omicron compared with Delta is reduced by as much as 80% and once in hospital, the risk of severe diseases with Omicron is reduced by as much as 70%.
He says as with previous variants, unvaccinated people are at higher risk of severe disease. Doctor Fong further adds with more than 92% of adults fully vaccinated, we expect that our high vaccination rates, plus the infection-induced immunity from the large number of people who were infected during the last wave, will help to lower the number of people that develop severe disease.
He adds they continue to see that the majority of individuals testing positive in medical facilities are presenting for non-COVID medical problems and found to be positive while undergoing routine screening as all admissions to the hospital are currently tested for COVID-19.
Doctor Fong adds the vast majority of cases turning positive have minimal symptoms and remain stable.
He says severe outcomes will still be expected in some individuals, including those who have been immunized with two doses of the vaccine, especially people with severe underlying medical conditions or are over the age of 50.
Two elderly unvaccinated men have died from COVID-19.
They are the latest COVID-19 deaths reported by the Health Ministry.
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says the first COVID-19 death is a 73-year-old man from Wainibuku who died at home last Friday in respiratory distress.
Doctor Fong says this man had pre-existing medical conditions and was not vaccinated.
He says the second COVID -19 death is an 84-year-old man from Kinoya who died at home on Sunday in respiratory distress.
This man had a significant pre-existing medical condition and was not vaccinated.
There have been a total of 702 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji.
580 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in Fiji since Saturday.
405 new cases were recorded on Sunday and 175 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8am yesterday.
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says of the 580 cases recorded since the last update, 146 cases were recorded in the Northern Division; 111 cases were recorded in the Western Division, 303 cases were recorded in the Central Division and 20 cases in the Eastern Division.
The national 7- day rolling average is 167 daily cases.
92.2% of the adult target population in Fiji are fully vaccinated while 97.8% have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
This means 569,791 Fijians have received both doses of a vaccine while 604,488 adults have received at least one jab.
29,509 children between the ages of 15 to 17 are fully vaccinated while 36,720 children have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
10,657 children between the ages of 12-14 have received both the doses of the vaccine while 21,640 have received at least one jab.
69 people are currently admitted in the hospital with COVID-19.
According to the latest update by the Health Ministry, none of those admitted are in severe or critical condition.
Of those admitted, 35 are in the Central Division, 13 in the Western Division and 21 in the Northern Division.
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