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Health Ministry continues to trace, screen and test all contacts of current COVID-19 cases in Fiji

Health Ministry continues to trace, screen and test all contacts of current COVID-19 cases in Fiji

By fijivillage
Tuesday 04/05/2021
[Image: file photo]

Contact tracing continues for the potential super spreader event which is a funeral at Peceliema Church in Tavakubu.

Mon 19th Apr Tue 20th Apr Wed 21st Apr
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Sun 18th Apr


The soldier that contracted COVID-19 is reported to not have left the quarantine facility - Doctor Fong

A wide contact tracing effort was done out of an abundance of caution
By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 18/04/2021
Dr James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says the soldier who contracted COVID-19 at a quarantine facility in Nadi is reported to not have left the site at any time during the transmission window however given that the potential window for transmission may be prolonged, they have to assume that the soldier had some contact with the daytime staff of the quarantine facility, including hotel workers.

He says these are staff who have gone on to enter public spaces.

The soldier in question tested negative for the virus during routine testing for border staff on the 10th of April 2021.

Doctor Fong says despite showing no symptoms, he was tested again on the 17th of April in line with border quarantine procedures.

That was when the positive result was registered.

Doctor Fong adds they suspect the soldier contracted the virus from two Fijian citizens who returned to Fiji from India on 10th April.

The two Fijian citizens both tested positive for the virus and were transported to the isolation ward of Lautoka Hospital on 16th April.

Doctor Fong stresses that the soldier was staying onsite at the quarantine facility, as is the protocol for all military personnel on rotation through border quarantine duties.

The Permanent Secretary adds while this is still a border quarantine case, there is a serious risk that cases could have entered the community.

He says that is why they are acting with decisive precaution to prevent any widespread transmission from this case.

The Permanent Secretary for Health says for them, this level of extreme precaution is the benchmark for keeping people safe. He says from last night, they have embarked on a contact tracing effort to identify those who came into contact with this individual as well as members of their households. Doctor Fong adds they have identified 69 first-generation contacts.

He says these are individuals who were working in the quarantine facility during the window of transmission and while they may not all be close contacts of this case, they have deliberately widened their definition of a first-generation contact to cast a wide net out of an abundance of caution.

Doctor Fong adds these individuals are all now in quarantine facilities, where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

He has revealed that so far, 56 have tested negative for the virus.

Doctor Fong says 13 results are still being processed.

He further says that they have identified and contained 267 second-generation contacts.

Doctor Fong explained that these are individuals sharing a household with the first generation contacts of the soldier.

He says these individuals were also taken into quarantine facilities last night and are being tested.

Doctor Fong says they should have the results starting from tomorrow. He says as these results come in, they will have a clear idea about whether their contact tracing needs to expand.

Doctor Fong stresses as of today, they are comfortable with the net they have cast.

Click here to view the statement

Positive case detected on Saturday Soldier in question was tested negative on the 10th of April.

Dr Fong says they suspect he contracted COVID-19 from a couple who arrived from India.

The soldier was staying on site at the quarantine facility in Nadi.

Dr Fong says the soldier may have come into contact with daytime staff at the quarantine facility.

He says contact tracing started last night

69 first generation contacts have been identified.

While they may not be in contact with the soldier, they are all in quarantine for 14 days 56 tests have come back negative 13 results still being awaited.

 More tests are underway.

As the results come in, the Health Ministry will decide on further contact tracing.

Avoid non essential travel and gatherings as requested by the Prime Minister.

More decisions along this line will be made after further tests and assessments tomorrow.

Dr Fong says we all should not be complacent.

This is a test for Fiji’s next level of containment.

Total of 336 contact tracing done.

Lot of lessons learnt to work quickly and contact trace 336 from last night to this morning.

Stay focused on maintaining COVID-19 guidelines.

Next batch of vaccines arrive tomorrow.

Dr Fong calls on people to get vaccinated

Tests for the first generation contacts will be tested again on Day 12.

He also calls on people to only get information from official sources.

Contact tracing app is really useful. Right now they are working from the border quarantine case and whether any case went into the community.

What this case has shown is that the border guidelines are working - Dr Aalisha Sahukhan.

Dr Fong says there are certain things in quarantine that are hard to mitigate.

Something as simple as opening a hotel door on the corridor can result in the spread of the virus - Dr Sahukhan.

Dr Fong says we will only declare a lockdown as and when the measure dictates that they have to take that step.

He says lockdowns will not just be declared as some in Nadi and Lautoka have been asking for.

He says the interaction is also kept at a minimum.

All first and second generation contacts will be tested of the soldier who has tested positive in the border quarantine facility.

Many of the contacts of the second generation group has also been assembled in case there is a positive case - Dr Fong.



New border quarantine case that could pose a risk of transmission beyond the border - Bainimarama

Do not gather and do not travel unless it is essential
By Semi Turaga
Sunday 18/04/2021
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [Image: Fijian Government]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that yesterday, they became aware of a new border quarantine case that could pose a risk of transmission beyond the border which requires immediate steps from everyone to mitigate.

He says this case of the virus has been detected during a routine test of a member of our security forces working within a quarantine facility.

Bainimarama says they know he contracted the virus anytime from one to six days prior and that he interacted with other daytime staff in the quarantine facility during that time.

The Prime Minister says that means there may have been some exposure outside of the facility that they have to manage.

He says when it comes to containing a disease as insidious as the coronavirus, the risks are simply too high to take chances.

Bainimarama says they are responding to this case with the same extreme precaution they have employed from the start of the pandemic.

He says last night, they began entering into quarantine staff who were working in the facility during the potential window for transmission and also members of their households.

Bainimarama says some factors are working in their favour.

He says the soldier has received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and that means his risk of severe infection is reduced and it is likely his risk of transmission was lower.

Bainimarama stresses that doesn’t mean we can afford to take any chances particularly given the rise of new and more contagious variants of COVID-19 around the world.

The Prime Minister says if the soldier hadn’t received that first dose, the risk to him and others would have been much higher.

Bainimarama says as they continue to identify other potential contacts tied to this case, he cannot stress enough how important it is that they adhere to the habits of handwashing and physical distancing, where possible, that have kept Fiji safe through today.

He says if you are called by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services teams as a potential contact, please come forward immediately.

Bainimarama says they have been exploring the relaxation of some of the remaining health restrictions, including the capacity of large public events and the curfew hours, in particular as vaccines have been administered.

The Prime Minister adds unfortunately, that will have to wait until they are certain this case does not pose a risk to the public.

He says in fact, they should prepare for these measures to become more stringent if they find there has been transmission to the public.

Bainimarama says for now, do not gather and do not travel unless it is essential.

He says large gatherings, especially, are not safe.

Bainimarama says nothing suggests there was a breach of protocol at this stage and they will continue to strengthen procedures to further reduce the risk of transmission within our quarantine facilities.



Mon 19th Apr


Gavoka wants authorities to review protocols immediately to protect frontline workers

This breach in protocol cannot be repeated -Bainimarama
By Semi Turaga
Monday 19/04/2021
SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [image:file]

SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka is calling on authorities to review protocols immediately to protect frontline workers and the health of the public.

He says while they appreciate the effort, the new cases raise questions with respect to the monitoring of frontline workers at different quarantine facilities.

Gavoka adds they note that the 53-year-old woman who is the latest COVID-19 patient interacted with the soldier who earlier contracted the virus at a quarantine facility.

The SODELPA Leader says the major concern is that workers at quarantine facilities can return to their homes and enter the public space soon after completion of their daily shift.

He adds it defeats the purpose of instituting mandatory quarantine for all overseas arrivals when frontline workers that deal with them can leave the facility and enter the public space.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says their investigation has revealed that the woman had an interaction with the soldier when he showed up early to his room as it was being cleaned.

He says protocol dictates that overlap should not have happened, that is why the woman was not tested before re-entering the public.

The Prime Minister says they will have to wait and see what further investigations reveal.

He says what is clear is that this breach in protocol cannot be repeated.

Bainimarama adds in the meantime, they are confident that their system of border quarantine can function to the high degree it has over the past year.




Biggest area of interest in Tavakubu – Dr Fong

Maid had interaction with soldier when he showed up early to his room - PM
By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 19/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama - [Photo: Fijian Government]

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says right now their biggest area of interest is Tavakubu, Lautoka where the 53-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 attended a funeral on Friday and Saturday.

Dr Fong says the information they are getting from the woman indicates that apart from three individuals who had travelled to Moturiki, Lomaiviti all other people at the funeral were from a church circuit within Lautoka.

He further says they have traced the 3 people who went to Moturiki.

Dr Fong adds their team in the West has shown a boundary that they maintained and they will be going through that group as part of the screening process.

He says they will have to set up a number of mobile and fixed screening clinics throughout Nadi and Lautoka.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says only 1 of the 69 first-generation contacts of the soldier that tested positive for COVID-19, has tested positive for the disease.

Bainimarama says 68 have tested negative.

He says the positive patient is the 53-year-old woman working as a maid in the quarantine facility.

Bainimarama says their investigation has revealed she had an interaction with the soldier when he showed up early to his room as it was being cleaned. He says protocol dictates that overlap should not have happened, that is why the woman was not tested before re-entering the public.

The Prime Minister says they will have to wait and see what further investigations reveal.

He says what is clear today is that this breach in protocol cannot be repeated.

In the meantime, they are confident that their system of border quarantine can function to the high degree it has over the past year.

The woman is a daytime worker and she resides in Nadi.

It has been revealed that she had symptoms on Thursday, and authorities were not notified.

The Prime Minister says that means she was contagious when she was at work on Thursday and later on Friday and Saturday when she travelled through the Lautoka and Nadi areas.

Bainimarama says perhaps most worryingly, she attended a funeral in Tavakubu Lautoka on Friday and Saturday, travelling alongside other passengers by minibus.

The Prime Minister says the woman’s movement using public transport, and her attendance in close proximity alongside many other Fijians at the two-day funeral makes further transmission in the community highly likely.

To limit the risk of mass community transmission, and to better screen the local population, Bainimarama said they had established a Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area and brought new stringent health protection measures into effect. The Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area has been established from Qeleloa bearing towards Sigatoka, to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai Crossing bearing towards Ba.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services personnel and disciplined forces have rapidly established screening points at these entry points.



Timeline for administration of Astrazeneca vaccines cannot be moved – Dr Sahukhan

By Iva Danford
Monday 19/04/2021
Head of Health Protection, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan.

The timeline for administration of the Astrazeneca vaccines cannot be moved.

This was confirmed by the Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan who says that they know from the studies that the maximum level of protection from the vaccine is achieved if the dose is spaced out to up to 12 weeks.

Doctor Sahukhan says they want to make sure that everyone that gets the vaccine to develop the most immunity that they can.

She says if this time is reduced, the effect of the vaccines can be diminished.



Curfew reverts to 11pm-4am for the Western Division from today

Coca-Cola Games and religious gatherings cancelled for the next 14 days
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 19/04/2021
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [Image: Fijian Government]
  • Curfew hours will revert to 11pm to 4am in Nadi and Lautoka.
  • Major events including the Coca Cola Games and graduation ceremonies will have to be cancelled for the next 14 days.
  • Please wear masks, pick up this habit and put it on every day - PM

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the government is allowing for limited movement and COVID-safe activity within the Containment Area in Nadi and Lautoka area from this afternoon and the 24 hour curfew has been lifted.

Bainimarama says the curfew hours will revert to 11pm to 4am for the Nadi and Lautoka area.

He says supermarkets and shops selling food can open from today so that people can buy food.

Banks, pharmacies, FNPF, other businesses such as factories and shops, can open as well.

However, Bainimarama says it is vital that vendors and businesses ensure strict physical distancing before opening their doors.

The Prime Minister has told businesses to make sure customers in queues are spaced out by two metres and manage crowding.

He says customer-facing businesses should limit customer capacity to 50 percent.

Bainimarama stresses that businesses that do not manage these risks with COVID-safe plans will be shut down.

Within the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area, higher-risk businesses, such as gyms, movie theatres, video gaming shops, cyber cafes, taverns, bars, billiard shops and amusement arcades cannot open for at least the next 14 days.

The Prime Minister says restaurants may not open for in-person dining, but may offer delivery and takeaway services.

He says they are also making arrangements to ensure fresh produce, basic food items, manufactured items, and other items can be sent in and out of the containment area.

Police have been instructed to be quick about these approvals so that these goods can flow as freely as possible.

Bainimarama says they expect these measures to be maintained for at least the next 14 days.

The new measures do not end at the borders of the containment area.

The Prime Minister says nationwide, schools, including private schools, will be closed from tomorrow through at least the end of the term.

School boarders will return to where they reside. If they are in the containment area and need to return home outside of the area, they will be allowed to leave in a highly controlled manner. For the rest of Fiji, the Prime Minister says over the next 14 days, major events, including the Coca-Cola Games, university graduations and rugby matches, will have to be cancelled.

For the next 14 days no religious services are to be held and non-work gatherings should not happen at all.

Bainimarama says businesses can remain open with COVID safe plans.

All businesses must require customers display the careFIJI app or they must register their details for contact tracing purposes.

Civil servants living outside of the containment area who work within the area should report to the nearest office outside of the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area. For those outside of Nadi and Lautoka, you have 24 hours to enter the containment area if you need to.

But you will not be allowed to leave for at least the next 14 days.

Bainimarama says those living outside of the containment area who are unable to attend work in the containment area will be allowed to access $220 a fortnight from their FNPF. If funds are insufficient, the government will top up their accounts.

The Prime Minister says they will also approve individuals to travel through the containment area for flights out of Nadi.

Aside from some cancellations today, repatriation flights will continue at Nadi International Airport.

Bainimarama says to ensure we have adequate space in quarantine facilities, those currently in their quarantine periods will be securely ferried out of the containment area to where they reside once they finish their 14 days of quarantine and clear a negative COVID test result.

Biggest area of interest in Tavakubu – Dr Fong

Maid had interaction with soldier when he showed up early to his room - PM

By: Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant

Monday 19/09/2020

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The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says right now their biggest area of interest is Tavakubu, Lautoka where the 53-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 attended a funeral on Friday and Saturday.

Dr Fong says the information they are getting from the woman indicates that apart from three individuals who had travelled to Moturiki, Lomaiviti all other people at the funeral were from a church circuit within Lautoka.

He further says they have traced the 3 people who went to Moturiki.

Dr Fong adds their team in the West has shown a boundary that they maintained and they will be going through that group as part of the screening process.

He says they will have to set up a number of mobile and fixed screening clinics throughout Nadi and Lautoka.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says only 1 of the 69 first-generation contacts of the soldier that tested positive for COVID-19, has tested positive for the disease.

Bainimarama says 68 have tested negative.

He says the positive patient is the 53-year-old woman working as a maid in the quarantine facility.

Bainimarama says their investigation has revealed she had an interaction with the soldier when he showed up early to his room as it was being cleaned. He says protocol dictates that overlap should not have happened, that is why the woman was not tested before re-entering the public.

The Prime Minister says they will have to wait and see what further investigations reveal.

He says what is clear today is that this breach in the protocol cannot be repeated.

In the meantime, they are confident that their system of border quarantine can function to the high degree it has over the past year.

The woman is a daytime worker and she resides in Nadi.

It has been revealed that she had symptoms on Thursday, and authorities were not notified.

The Prime Minister says that means she was contagious when she was at work on Thursday and later on Friday and Saturday when she travelled through the Lautoka and Nadi areas.

Bainimarama says perhaps most worryingly, she attended a funeral in Tavakubu Lautoka on Friday and Saturday, travelling alongside other passengers by minibus.

The Prime Minister says the woman’s movement using public transport, and her attendance in close proximity alongside many other Fijians at the two-day funeral makes further transmission in the community highly likely.

To limit the risk of mass community transmission, and to better screen the local population, Bainimarama said they had established a Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area and brought new stringent health protection measures into effect.

The Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area has been established from Qeleloa bearing towards Sigatoka, to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai Crossing bearing towards Ba.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services personnel and disciplined forces have rapidly established screening points at these entry points.


PM urges Fijians in the containment area in Nadi and Lautoka to wear masks

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 19/04/2021
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama - [Photo: Fijian Government]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama advises Fijians in the containment area in Nadi and Lautoka to wear masks as it’s the one thing that may be most important in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Bainimarama says masks are absolutely proven to protect yourself and others from contracting COVID, so we need each of you to urgently pick up this habit.

He says he knows that, for the past year, we have had the luxury of not needing to put on masks every day, like billions of others have around the world.

But he says today, that needs to change. Bainimarama also says he can’t stress this enough, that everyone needs to download the careFIJI app on their phones if you can.

He says situations like the current COVID case are exactly why they created the careFIJI app, and it’s use now is more critical than ever before.

The Prime Minister says social distancing has been ignored, masks have gathered dust tucked away in drawers, and businesses went back to operating as usual.

He says the healthy habits that we learned 12 months ago were all but forgotten.

But over the course of the past year, the science has become even more clear that mask-wearing and physical distancing is absolutely essential to stop the virus from spreading.

Bainimarama says now, more than ever, we need every woman, man, and child, and every business of every size, to go back to following that proven rule book.

He says that is why they are enforcing the same, strict containment measures that have proven successful in the past, and it’s why their contact tracing team is working overtime to identify and isolate every known contact of this latest case.

The Prime Minister says we need every Fijian to do their part to contain this virus, and each and every one of you can help them again defeat this disease.

They are also re-activating the network of screening clinics across the country to keep those with COVID-like symptoms away from vulnerable people who visit health centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

If you have a fever, or any symptoms, like a dry cough or a loss of taste, visit one of these clinics immediately.

As of today, 24,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be arriving through the COVAX facility.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong will be announcing the details of their vaccine deployment soon.

Please call 158 if you are feeling unwell.




All schools to be closed for 3 weeks from tomorrow - Akbar

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 19/04/2021
Education Minister Rosy Akbar. [image: Fijian Government]

All schools will be closed from tomorrow for 3 weeks.

Education Minister, Rosy Akbar confirms that they are taking this step as a COVID-19 precautionary measure.

Akbar says they are bringing the holidays earlier after their meeting chaired by the Prime Minister this morning.

Stay with us for updates.


PM to have press conference at 3pm today on COVID-19 situation

Stay with us for live updates on fijivillage
By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 19/04/2021
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [Photo: Office of the Prime Minister]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama will have a national announcement in relation to COVID-19 in Fiji at 3pm today.

Bainimarama is currently meeting with senior government officials regarding the COVID situation in the country and the measures to be taken.

We will have live coverage of the Prime Minister’s announcement on our website, fijivillage.

The announcement later today will cover when essential businesses, including banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other essential service providers in the greater Nadi and Lautoka area, may safely resume operation with strict physical distancing enforced. For now, all schools and businesses will be closed in Nadi and Lautoka.

In a statement the Ministry of Health has announced a lockdown of the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area after a 53-year-old woman of Nadi who is a first generation contact of the soldier that tested positive for COVID-19 has also registered a positive COVID-19 test result.

They are defining the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area as the areas spanning from Momi Junction and the Mulomulo Police Post bearing towards Sigatoka, to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai crossing bearing towards Ba.

Within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area, Police have enforced a 24-hour curfew which will end at 4am tomorrow.

They say all Fijians in the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area should stay home and public gatherings should not happen adding no services should run except for essential medical services.

Passenger travel out of this area has been halted by road, air, and sea. Passenger travel into the area will be permitted over the next 24 hours for Fijians who reside within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area. However, those allowed to enter the area must head straight home and will not be allowed to come out of the lockdown area.

For the rest of Fiji, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services may remain open. However, the government encourages people to avoid non-essential travel and large gatherings. Outside the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area, curfew hours will remain from 11pm to 4am.

The Ministry will also be re-activating fever clinics within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

The Ministry says they are more equipped than they have ever been to contain the spread of the virus together.





I feel for people in the lockdown area who are already struggling – Lautoka resident

If everyone does their part there will be no need for a lockdown
By Semi Turaga
Monday 19/04/2021
Naviti Street and Yasawa Street junction, Lautoka. [image: Mohit Lal]

Lautoka residents are starting from zero again today with a lockdown now in effect in the greater Nadi and Lautoka areas.

For many residents, it feels like a repeat of last year’s lockdown in March which lasted for more than two weeks.

Lautoka resident Narayan Reddy says although the curfew and lockdown was in effect at 4 o’clock this morning, many people were still on the road after 6am because they did not know about it.

Reddy says he went to buy bread this morning and also picked up some people on the way because he wanted to deliver groceries to a family.

He adds people heard about the lockdown in the news much later.

Reddy says he knows that there are some families who were coming back from Suva and others that are stuck in Lautoka and want to go out.

He told us that he got a call from a friend who was checking out of a hotel at 11am and does not know what to do now because he does not have enough money to continue to stay at the hotel.

Reddy says he feels for people in the lockdown area who are already struggling.

Reddy says people need to follow what the Ministry of Health is telling them because if everyone does their part there will be no need for a lockdown.



53-year-old Nadi woman tests positive for COVID-19

Greater Nadi and Lautoka areas on lockdown
By Naveel Krishant
Monday 19/04/2021
Vakabuli checkpoint in Lautoka this morning. [image: Fiji Police]

A 53-year-old woman of Nadi who is a first-generation contact of the soldier that tested positive for COVID-19 has also registered a positive COVID-19 test result.

The Health Ministry says this woman worked in a border quarantine facility but has since entered public spaces and has a travel history in Nadi and Lautoka.

All members of her household have already been entered into quarantine.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health has announced a lockdown of the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area.

They are defining the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area as the areas spanning from Momi Junction and the Mulomulo Police Post bearing towards Sigatoka, to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai crossing bearing towards Ba.

Within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area, effective immediately, Police are enforcing a 24-hour curfew.

They say all Fijians in the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area should stay home and public gatherings should not happen adding no services should run except for essential medical services.

Later today, an announcement will cover when essential businesses, including banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other essential service providers, may safely resume operation with strict physical distancing enforced. For now, all schools and businesses will be closed.

Passenger travel out of this area has been halted by road, air, and sea. Passenger travel into the area will be permitted over the next 24 hours for Fijians who reside within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area. However, those allowed to enter the area must head straight home and will not be allowed to come out of the lockdown area.

For the rest of Fiji, schools, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services may remain open. However, the government encourages people to avoid non-essential travel and large gatherings. Outside the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area, curfew hours will remain from 11pm to 4am.

The Ministry will also be re-activating fever clinics within the Greater Nadi and Lautoka Area to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

The Ministry says they are more equipped than they have ever been to contain the spread of the virus together.


Tue 20th Apr


COVID-19 test results for Moturiki trio expected today

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Alisha Sahukhan. [image: Fijian Govt.]

The Health Ministry is expected to confirm tomorrow the COVID-19 test results of the three people from Naicabecabe Village in Moturiki who travelled with Fiji’s latest COVID-19 patients.

A 53-year-old hotel worker and the daughter are the two latest positive cases in the country.

It has been confirmed that they travelled with three family members who were visiting from Naicabecabe Village in Moturiki last week.

The three people from Moturiki also stayed with the mother and daughter at their home in Nadi.

The three people are in home quarantine in Naicabecabe which is now on lockdown.

The Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says they are awaiting the samples of the three people in Moturiki.

She says the three will be tested and they should have the results by today.

If you have a fever, or any symptoms, like a dry cough or a loss of taste, visit one of these clinics immediately.

Please call 158 if you are feeling unwell.



Daughter of hotel worker tests positive for COVID-19

Contact tracing continues for the potential super spreader event which is a funeral at Peceliema Church in Tavakubu
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image:Fijian Govt.]

  • Daughter of hotel worker tests positive for COVID-19
  • Tavakubu funeral a potential super spreader event
  • Health ministry searching for driver of grey taxi and driver of public mini bus 

A new COVID-19 case has been confirmed as contact tracing continues for the potential super spreader event which is a funeral at Peceliema Church in Tavakubu Lautoka on Friday 16th April and Saturday 17th April.

In a press conference, Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong confirms the second positive community case is the daughter of the 53-year-old hotel worker.

Doctor Fong says the soldier who tested positive over the weekend remains in border quarantine facility and he never entered public spaces.

He says their contact tracing has been limited to his 69 primary contacts within the facility as well as their 267 secondary contacts. These contacts are all in quarantine.

The 53-year-old maid is the only positive case from the 69 primary contacts.

Doctor Fong also says the woman, her daughter with the rest of her family have been in quarantine since Sunday morning.

He says due to her extensive exposure with the public, this hotel staff and now her daughter, have been the central focus of their contact tracing.

Doctor Fong says together these two patients represent the highest risk cases Fiji has ever contended with.

At about 9pm Friday, 16th April the mother and 11 other family members travelled from Nadi to the funeral in Tavakubu using a hired mini bus. The mini bus is identified and the driver is in quarantine.

Doctor Fong says outside this family, there were no other passengers.

He says the mother and eight of her family members returned to Nadi later at 12.30am Saturday. They went again in a hired mini bus. It drove from Tavakubu to Nadi. There were no other outside passengers.

On Saturday, the woman and 7 other family members travelled to Tavakubu at 9am by hired mini bus without any other passengers. They are also trying to contact the driver of the mini bus.

After the funeral on Saturday, the hotel worker and another family member travelled in a grey taxi from Tavakubu to the Lautoka Mini Bus Stand, then took a public mini bus from Lautoka to Nadi at around 5pm. The Health Ministry has not found the taxi or the mini bus.

Doctor Fong says they need to find the driver of the grey taxi and the driver and passengers of the mini bus.

The other family members who had travelled with the hotel worker to Lautoka all returned to Nadi by other means.

All these family members based in the west have been entered into quarantine and have tested negative for the virus.

As the Health Ministry presses ahead with contact tracing, they are urging anyone with details about the grey taxi and the mini bus to come forward with information.

If you travelled by mini bus between Lautoka Mini Bus Stand to Nadi after 5pm Saturday 17th April, please call 158.

If you are the driver of a grey taxi or have information about the driver, please call 158.

Now that the ministry knows that both the mother and the daughter are COVID positive, the risk that there was transmission of the virus to the mother’s fellow passengers from the Tavakubu funeral to Nadi on Saturday is high.

The funeral is now treated as a potential super spreader event.

Throughout this period the woman and her daughter also travelled with three family members who were visiting from Naicabecabe Village in Moturiki. These three also stayed with the mother and daughter at their home in Nadi.

The three individuals have been identified, they have been swabbed and are in home quarantine in Naicabecabe.

The entire village of Naicabecabe is now a containment area.

Dr Fong says they know that there were more than 500 people present in the funeral in Tavakubu. The mother was there for a few hours which was more than enough time to transmit the virus to others.

The Health Ministry has directed all those present at the funeral to stay at home for the next two weeks while they await screening by the ministry.

If you attended the funeral at Peceliema Church in Tavakubu on Friday 16th April or Saturday 17th April, please call 158.




We are certain there are more COVID-19 cases out there however we are yet to confirm it via tests – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: file]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they are certain there are more COVID-19 cases out there however they have yet to confirm it via tests.

Doctor Fong says they are mobilising a massive house-to-house screening effort in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area to determine people’s travel history, so they know where they have been and screen for COVID-like symptoms.

He says they have the capacity to run 600 COVID tests per day.

Doctor Fong says that is how many tests they plan to run every day for the next two weeks.

For this screening effort to be done well, they need to ensure that people in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area are at home as much as possible.

From today, the Health Ministry is asking that movement within the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area be restricted for emergencies and essential purposes only.

If you do not have an essential reason to travel, don’t.

Doctor Fong says they need everyone at home as often as possible.

He says if you are living within the containment area, you should treat everyone as COVID positive until it is proven otherwise.

If you need to go outside, wear a mask.

Keep your distance from others, and head straight home once you have finished shopping for food, medicine or getting money.

Doctor Fong says for those businesses which are open, he cannot stress enough how important it is that you enforce physical distancing within your businesses and require that customers have the careFIJI app turned on while they are on the premises.

He says they have been informed that some supermarkets are not enforcing these measures.

The Permanent Secretary says shops will be shut down if these reports are found to be true.

Doctor Fong stresses that he also wants to be clear with everyone – the problem here is the virus, not any one person.

He says we need to shake the harmful stigma around people who are living with COVID-19.

If you feel you have symptoms, if you know someone experiencing symptoms and if you suspect you have had contact with either of our two confirmed patients, call 158.


 

Non-work gatherings should not be happening of any size, anywhere in Fiji – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says non-work gatherings should not be happening of any size, anywhere in Fiji.

Doctor Fong says he knows this is a bitter pill to swallow for those who had planned religious celebrations but this is a life or death matter.

He says those services, no matter how small, could put lives at risk.

Doctor Fong says their discipline and sacrifice today will keep COVID-stricken patients out of ICUs and prevent loss of life.

He asks people for now, please keep your celebrations within your homes and restricted to members of your households.

Doctor Fong says find comfort in family, and have faith that our strict adherence to these health measures will restore our precious freedom to gather for religious services once Fiji is safe again.

Meanwhile Doctor Fong says he has been extremely disappointed by media coverage that has been misleading.

He highlighted in particular, The Fiji Times published a troubling headline on their Facebook page saying “Vaccines do not protect you from getting the virus”.

Doctor Fong says the headline was wrong.

He says it is contradicted by science, and many people will be swayed by it without ever reading the article.

Doctor Fong says all of us who provide information to the public must take extreme care in what we say and how we say it to avoid giving information that is misleading, unproven, premature or, at worst, false.

He says their reckless words may have deadly consequences.

Doctor Fong states that vaccines absolutely do protect you from getting the virus, particularly after both doses of the vaccine are administered.

He says so far, they have only administered the first of two doses in Fiji, that means they only offered partial protection.

Doctor Fong says the soldier and the maid both received one dose of the vaccine, but neither were fully immunised.

He says no vaccine stops transmission 100% of the time but when a person is fully immunised, the likelihood of contracting the virus plummets, as does the severity of the symptoms.

Doctor Fong says as countries vaccinate more people, infections and deaths decline. That is happening in Israel, the US, the UK, Australia and elsewhere.

He also shares the Prime Minister’s concerns that our experience in containing the virus may have made us complacent, life-risking habits have taken hold in too many ways over the past several months.

People are sharing takis, bilos and cigarettes, and forgoing handwashing and strict physical distancing.

Doctor Fong says we all need to recommit ourselves to the practices that have protected us until we reach herd immunity through mass vaccination.



Two new COVID-19 border quarantine cases in Fiji - Dr Sahukhan

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan. [image: Fijian Govt.]

There are two more confirmed COVID-19 border quarantine cases in Fiji.

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says these cases are two soldiers aged 25 and 32 who recently returned from duties overseas.

Doctor Sahukhan says these are the cases that they are used to, where people come from overseas and go to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital in accordance with their normal protocol for positive cases.

She says with this latest border cases, there are now 10 active cases admitted at the Lautoka Isolation Unit.

Doctor Sahukhan says the first five cases are the older border quarantine cases that were announced up until the end of last week and the recent five are the ones that have just been announced.

She says this means that Fiji has had 77 cases in total since our first case on March 19th 2020.

Doctor Sahukhan says 55 of these cases have been international travel associated detected in border quarantine.

She says the two recent cases who is the quarantine hotel worker and the soldier are our first case of local transmission in over one year.

Sahukhan says 43,241 COVID-19 tests have been conducted with a daily average of 277 test per day over the last 7 days and a weekly average of 18,092 tests a week, over the last two weeks.

She says there are currently 800 people who have recently arrived from overseas and are undergoing mandatory 14-day quarantine in the border quarantine facilities in Nadi.



Our presence does not mean something will happen in the area - Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 20/04/2021
The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong. [image: Fijian Govt.]

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says sometimes their presence in public spaces is just to investigate and it does not mean something will happen in the area.

There are reports circulating that a woman from a village in Nausori had attended the funeral in Tavakubu and there is a potential threat of the area being placed under lockdown.

Dr Fong says every time they try to investigate a suspected step, people start thinking that there is something happening.

He is urging the people not to be afraid when they see health staff in their area.

Dr Fong says they understand public anxiety but they will inform the people if there is something.



Breach at the quarantine was an incident waiting to happen – Dr. Fong

Rosie Holidays and Pacific Destinations commended for supporting containment efforts
By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: file]

Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. James Fong says the quarantine is an operation run by human beings and no quarantine process in the whole world has been 100 percent full proof.

Dr. Fong says every single quarantine system in the world has been breached.

He says for them, the breach at the quarantine facility in Nadi was an incident waiting to happen.

Dr. Fong adds they got a lot of community support on the first night of operations when they were looking for 310 people that are now in quarantine.

He says Rosie Holidays gave them vehicles and told them to use it while Pacific Destinations Limited told them they will go anywhere to help the Ministry to reach these people.

Dr. Fong says there were other people that came forward with the help and this assistance allowed them to secure 310 people in 12 hours which is a huge achievement.

He says their biggest priority at the moment is getting the containment plan working and the exercise of going through the whole of Lautoka and Nadi is a huge logistical exercise.

He also reveals there will be 19 screening locations in the Central Division by tomorrow and they are also setting up locations in the Northern Division.




Mini buses are operating with full capacity and people are not wearing masks

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Mini buses in Suva. [image: File]

Mini buses are operating in the lockdown area in Nadi and Lautoka today with full capacity and passengers are not wearing masks according to Viti Minibuses Co-operative Limited’s founding member, Albert Jackson.

Viti Minibuses is calling on authorities to enforce the wearing of masks as they cannot afford to make trips with half capacity.

Jackson says mini buses cannot make trips with only 10 or less passengers as it will not be profitable.

He says they want all passengers to wear masks and even carry hand sanitisers.


More than 100 mini buses are operating under the Viti Minibuses Co-operative Limited.



No non-work gatherings such as social & sports activities and no religious services allowed for 14 days in Fiji - Tudravu

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu.

Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu is advising everyone to bear with Police and follow COVID-19 restrictions that have been issued on non-work gatherings such as social and sports activities and no religious services.

When asked about by Legend FM News, Tudravu says these restrictions are all to be adhered to within 14 days.

He says all Fijians must make the work easier for all government agencies by following the law.

The Acting Commissioner says while officers strictly monitor the lockdown areas in the Western Division, all those living in the non–lockdown areas are advised to follow restrictions and cooperate with respective government agencies.

Tudravu says at this stage, officers are strictly monitoring the movement of people within the lockdown areas from Qeleloa bearing towards Sigatoka to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai Crossing bearing towards Ba and they seek your assistance and cooperation with this regard.

He says this does not mean that only those living in these lockdown areas are to follow the restrictions.

The Acting Commissioner says every Fijian is requested to follow the instructions that were already issued by the Prime Minister yesterday.

Tudravu says everyone needs to understand the seriousness of the issue and please do what the government is saying.

The Health Ministry is expected to provide more details soon.



Screening clinics to be set-up after woman who tested positive travelled in mini bus and attended funeral

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 20/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they will set up a number of fixed and mobile screening clinics throughout Lautoka and Nadi to be able to pick up any other random cases after confirmation that the 53-year-old woman who tested positive for COVID-19 travelled in a minibus and attended a funeral.

The 53-year-old woman was working as a maid in the quarantine facility.

She contracted COVID-19 from a soldier in the same quarantine facility. They both tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

The woman attended a funeral in Tavakubu Lautoka on Friday and Saturday and she travelled with passengers by minibus.

Doctor Fong says their teams have already tracked some people.

Doctor Fong stresses the COVID safe measures will stop the virus even if people did not know about it.

If you have a fever, or any symptoms, like a dry cough or a loss of taste, visit one of these clinics immediately.

Please call 158 if you are feeling unwell.



If there are no new cases over the next 2 weeks to 1 month, then we will be more relaxed with the restrictions – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: file]

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says if there are no new COVID-19 cases over the next two weeks to one month, then they will be more relaxed with the restrictions in place and we can go back to where we were.

Doctor Fong says everything depends on the new cases that they pick up in their escalated community surveillance program.

He says within the current contained area they have really escalated their surveillance program.

Doctor Fong says there is community surveillance that will be happening in the Central Division.

He says they will also be setting up mobile fever clinics throughout Fiji.

Doctor Fong says they will be going back to what they were doing when we had the 18 cases last year.

He says for now the agreement is to cancel sports activities and large gatherings and work out over the next 14 days on the amount of information that they can get.



Suva Olympic Pool, Albert Park and My Suva Park closed until further notice as part of COVID guidelines

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
My Suva Park and Suva Olympic Pool. [Image: Suva City Council]

The Suva City Council has closed Suva Olympic Pool, Albert Park, My Suva Park and all other SCC’s sporting facilities until further notice.

SCC confirms this is in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement.

Stay safe and adhere to all COVID restrictions.



Damodar City Aquatic Centre and National Fitness Centre are closed for the next 14 days

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Damodar City Aquatic Centre and National Fitness Centre. [Image: Fiji Sports Council]

The Damodar City Aquatic Centre and the National Fitness Centre are closed for the next 14 days.

The Fiji Sports Council says their properties such as the ANZ Stadium and Ground, National Netball Centre, Vodafone Arena Halls, FMF Gymnasium, National Hockey Centre, Multipurpose Courts and Victoria Tennis Court remain open.

They are urging people to follow the COVID-19 hygiene measures.



Methodist Church in Fiji cancels all gatherings for the next 14-days

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Centenary Church. [image: file]

The Methodist Church in Fiji has cancelled all gatherings for the next 14-days to comply with the government’s requirement.

The President of the Methodist Church in Fiji Reverend Ili Vunisuwai says this includes the Annual General Meeting for every district that was scheduled for this week, church services, district meetings, rallies, outreach programmes, visitations and any other meetings that were to be held within the next 14-days.

He says COVID-19 is not an easy disease to deal with, so they need to look at the bigger picture and follow what the government has set out.



Cancel Ram Navami celebration gatherings - Tiwari

By Sheenal Charan
Tuesday 20/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The Shree Sanatan Dharm Purohit Brahman Maha Sabha of Fiji has urged its members conducting Hindu rituals/prayers including Ram Navami celebration to cancel religious gatherings.

The Acting National Secretary-General, Krishneel Krishan Tiwari says this is in accordance with the directives given by the government.

Tiwari says Hindu funeral rituals are to be carried out with immediate family members under strict COVID-19 protocols.

He adds necessary approvals must be taken from the nearest police station.



Lautoka Chamber of Commerce will liaise with businesses to ensure protocols are followed – Singh

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Lautoka City. [Image: file photo]

Lautoka Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Pyara Singh says they will be liaising with all businesses to ensure they are following all COVID-19 related protocols.

Singh says they welcome government’s decision to open businesses in the lockdown area as it will bring relief to the workers and business owners.

He says they will notify all business owners in Lautoka this morning to strictly adhere to the protocols announced by the Prime Minister.

Singh says he has also been informed that bus services will normalise in Lautoka from this morning.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says supermarkets and shops selling food can open in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area so that people can buy food.

Banks, pharmacies, FNPF, other businesses such as factories and shops, can open as well.

However, Bainimarama says it is vital that vendors and businesses ensure strict physical distancing before opening their doors.

The Prime Minister has told businesses to make sure customers in queues are spaced out by two metres and manage crowding.

He says customer-facing businesses should limit customer capacity to 50 percent.

Bainimarama stresses that businesses that do not manage these risks with COVID-safe plans will be shut down.

Within the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area, higher-risk businesses, such as gyms, movie theatres, video gaming shops, cyber cafes, taverns, bars, billiard shops and amusement arcades cannot open for at least the next 14 days.

The Prime Minister says restaurants may not open for in-person dining, but may offer delivery and take-away services.



FLP calling for investigation on how COVID-19 protocol was breached at the quarantine centre

The matter is being thoroughly investigated by our team on the ground- Dr Waqainabete
By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 20/04/2021
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry and Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. [Image: File Photo/Fijian Government]

The Fiji Labour Party is calling for a thorough investigation into how the COVID-19 protocol was breached at a quarantine centre in Nadi which has forced a virtual lockdown of the greater Nadi and Lautoka areas while Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says the matter is being thoroughly investigated by their team on the ground.

Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says thousands of families are being inconvenienced and their lives have been disrupted just because of the lapse or a lack of responsibility on the part of one person.

Chaudhry says the social and economic impact of this is enormous with schools closed, major sporting events and religious gatherings banned and USP’s graduation ceremony put on hold.

The Party Leader adds it is believed that the security personnel may have contracted the virus from a couple already in quarantine who had tested positive.

He says this raises greater questions about whether strict discipline is being enforced in quarantine centres holding positive cases.

Chaudhry says just one instance of irresponsibility has put the whole nation on alert because the extent of contamination is still not known.

He says so far the concentration has been on contact tracing which is fine but they insist that it is equally important that the matter of how the soldier got contaminated and passed it on to others is thoroughly examined to prevent this from happening again.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says we have to remember that these are the people that have been working hard to keep us COVID-19 contained for over a year.

He says investigations are ongoing and they are looking at ways to improve their processes because they do not want these things to happen again.

Dr Waqainabete adds medical experts are doing an audit of the things that happened.



USP graduation ceremonies cancelled

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 20/04/2021
University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus. [Image: File Photo]

The University of the South Pacific graduation ceremonies that were scheduled to take place this Thursday and Friday have been cancelled.

USP says details on how the certificates will be distributed will be decided at a later date.


Wed 21st Apr


Cunningham woman tests positive for COVID-19 and new guidelines announced for Viti Levu

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]
  • A woman is a new COVID-19 case from Cunningham
  • High-risk businesses such as gyms, cinemas, bars, taverns, gaming centres cannot open for the next 14 days
  • Non-work gatherings of any size cannot take place anywhere. These gathering restrictions are nationwide

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.


New COVID-19 health protection guidelines announced by Doctor Fong

Please wear masks, practice social distancing and keep your careFIJI app on
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

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.



Drivers of two mini buses and grey taxi come forward – Dr Fong

Ministry still looking for the driver and passengers of a public mini bus
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

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.




Contact tracing, swab tests and screening clinics underway in many parts of the country

Self quarantine for some residents
By Vijay Narayan, Shanil Singh
Wednesday 21/04/2021
A screening clinic in Suva. [image: File]

The Health Ministry’s contact tracing, swab tests and screening clinics are currently underway in many parts of the country while house to house visits are underway in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area.

We can confirm that tests have been conducted in Cunningham, Valelevu, other parts of Nasinu and Nausori earlier today. Some residents have also been told to self-quarantine while test results will be revealed by the Health Ministry.

fijivillage stresses that the positive test results will only be revealed by the Ministry.

Do not be alarmed when you see Health Ministry officials in the area as they may be just conducting tests and contact tracing.

Please ensure you are following the COVID-19 guidelines – download and keep the careFiji app on, continue to wash your hands or use hand sanitizers and wear face masks when out amongst the members of the public.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says sometimes their presence in public spaces is just to investigate and it does not mean something will happen in the area.

There are reports circulating that a woman from a village in Nausori had attended the funeral in Tavakubu and there is a potential threat of the area being placed under lockdown.

Dr Fong says every time they try to investigate a suspected step, people start thinking that there is something happening.

He is urging the people not to be afraid when they see health staff in their area.


Dr Fong says they understand public anxiety but they will inform the people if there is something.

If you are the driver or know the driver of a mini bus that was hired to carry passengers – a 53-year-old woman and eight of her family members from Tavakubu to Nadi at 10pm Friday the 16th of April; if you are the driver or know the driver of the mini bus that was hired to carry passengers – a 53-year-old woman and seven other family members to Tavakubu, Lautoka from Nadi around 9am Saturday the 17th of April; if you are the driver or know the driver of a grey taxi (as is recalled by the patient), that carried passengers including a 53-year-old woman and one other family member from Tavakubu, Lautoka after they attended a funeral, to Lautoka Mini Bus Stand on Saturday, 17th of April; and if you are the driver and a passenger of a mini bus that departed from Lautoka to Nadi at around 5pm Saturday, 17th of April, along with a 53-year-old woman and one other family member, please contact the Ministry of Health and Medical Services urgently on 158.



RFMF to assist in the movement of people from quarantine facility to the checkpoints after negative test on the 14th day

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 21/04/2021
[image: RFMF/Facebook]

People who have completed their 14-day quarantine in the containment area and are tested negative on their second test will be transferred from the quarantine facility to the lockdown border checkpoint in Nadi or Lautoka by the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces.

The Ministry of Health says these people will need to make arrangements for their pick-up at the border.

People who are in quarantine will also have to make sure they inquire with their hotel front desk about their pickup times at the end of their quarantine period.

The Ministry says they have also made arrangements for people travelling outside of Fiji on repatriation flights for their transfers from the main lockdown checkpoints on either side of the border to the Nadi International Airport.

They say all outbound passengers must have their COVID-19 swab results (e-copy is accepted) with them.

People travelling out of Fiji are advised to obtain a pass from the nearest Police Station, if they need to travel during curfew hours, by providing their travel itinerary and swabbing receipt from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The Health Ministry says all passengers must present themselves at the lockdown checkpoint 4 hours before their flight departure and the RFMF will make arrangements for their transfer from the lockdown checkpoint to the Nadi International Airport.

For all passengers coming into the country, the approved quarantine transfer from the Nadi International Airport to their quarantine facility will still be provided.

Scheduled flights on Thursday 22 April 2021:

Flight Number: NZ953 STD: 2.30pm Time at Checkpoint: 10.30am

Flight Number: FJ1411 STD: 4.20pm Time at Checkpoint: 12.20pm

Flight Number: FJ1810 STD: 10pm Time at Checkpoint: 6pm



Variant will be determined once samples are sent to our reference lab in Melbourne – Dr Sahukhan

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health Doctor Alisha Sahukhan. [image: Fijian Govt.]

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says the variant of COVID-19 in Fiji will be determined once the samples are sent to their reference lab in Melbourne, Australia.

Doctor Sahukhan says with this, they expect that the samples will go out this week and they should receive the result in the next week or two.

Fiji now has 3 community cases of COVID-19.

There are 78 cases in total since our first case on March 19th 2020.

Doctor Sahukhan says 55 of these cases have been international travel associated detected in border quarantine.



Why can’t people just wear masks – Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong says they would love to make mask-wearing mandatory however it becomes tough to police it.

Dr. Fong has also asked why they need to make it mandatory and why can’t people just react to what they should do, as they all are trying to protect each other.



You can drink grog with people you live with

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

You can drink grog with people in your household or bubble but everyone should have their own bilo.

This has been clarified by Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong.

He says people should not be using one bilo and passing it around.



Wear masks while travelling in buses - Bus Operators Association

By Dhanjay Deo, Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The Fiji Bus Operators Association is calling on all passengers who will be travelling in buses to wear their masks as they do not want people to spread COVID-19.

President, Nisar Ali Shah says while they have informed bus companies on the need for bus drivers to monitor their passengers, the responsibility lies with the public at large.

He says they are not an enforcement agency but bus drivers will be asking passengers to wear masks before entering buses.

Shah says those passengers who will not have their masks tomorrow will be told to get one.

When questioned about physical distancing in buses which is currently not happening, Shah says those people who can travel in other trips to towns and cities should not crowd labour trips for the next few weeks.

Shah says during these tough times when everyone is losing out on income, it will be difficult for bus companies to send two buses for a single trip and passengers need to wait for other buses if they see that a bus is getting full.

He says the association will be liaising with all bus companies to put notices in the buses regarding COVID-19 protocols.

The Land Transport Authority has referred all questions regarding people following COVID-19 safety measures to Police.

Police have referred all questions to the Health Ministry.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong has made it clear that if you absolutely need to travel, wear a mask and make sure you have the careFIJI app switched on.



Taxi drivers urged to adhere to guidelines set by the Health Ministry to stop the spread of COVID-19

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 22/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The General Secretary of the Fiji Taxi Association Ashwin Lal says it will be up to the individual drivers if they refuse services to people who are not adhering to the COVID-19 protocols set by the Health Ministry.

Lal says they are also urging drivers to only take up to 3 passengers as this will help to maintain social distancing in the taxis.

He further says they are urging drivers to wear masks and use hand sanitizers in battling to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Lal adds people also need to be cautious as they do not know when and where the sickness will go.

He further says they want everyone to be safe and happy.



Soldier may have contracted COVID-19 in the course of handling some baggage and interacting with two passengers – Dr Fong

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 21/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong [Image: Fijian Government]

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong says they feel the soldier may have contracted COVID-19 in the course of handling some baggage and interacting with two passengers who arrived from India on the 10th of April.

Dr Fong says the soldier had his appropriate personal protective equipment on but they feel that was the most likely touch point.

He adds this is based on the fact that he was able to transmit it to someone else and that it had to have harboured for a few days and then transmitted.

The Permanent Secretary also says the next touchpoint was when the lady was cleaning the room and the soldier walked in to put his stuff in the room.

Dr. Fong further adds the soldier stayed there for a bit of time and interacted with the lady.

He says the procedures at the border quarantine facilities do not need to change because what they have been doing is working.

Dr.Fong says what happened was there was a part of a procedure that was not adhered to and that was where the problem is.



Tikoduadua claims people are being penalised for the inability to ensure strict protocols around quarantine facilities

The matter is being thoroughly investigated – Dr Waqainabete
By Vijay Narayan, Shanil Singh
Wednesday 21/04/2021
National Federation Party President, Pio Tikoduadua, Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong.

National Federation Party President, Pio Tikoduadua says the people of Fiji are now being penalised for the government’s inability to ensure strict enforcement and adherence of protocols around COVID-19 quarantine facilities, however, Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has said that the matter is being thoroughly investigated by their team on the ground.

Tikoduadua says it is now abundantly clear that those enforcing quarantine protocols often overlook it to come in contact with those staying in quarantine.

He says this clearly happened in the case of the soldier who came into contact with a hotel worker which then led to community transmission.

He says unfortunately for the last two days, the focus is on the 53-year-old woman and not the soldier or the persons he came into contact with.

The NFP President says all we are told that the matter is being fully investigated but this is not good enough.

He says the people of Fiji are entitled to full disclosures on this matter because they are now being made to sacrifice their freedom of movement, worship, gathering and sports.

Tikoduadua says any investigation must first establish how and why the soldier came into contact with persons in quarantine.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says we have to remember that these are the people that have been working hard to keep us COVID-19 contained for over a year.

He says investigations are ongoing and they are looking at ways to improve their processes because they do not want these things to happen again.

Dr Waqainabete adds medical experts are doing an audit of the things that happened.

Tikoduadua also says that the Prime Minister’s announcement of lockdown and restrictive measures are confusing and raises more questions than providing answers.

He says there is total confusion surrounding the announcement of no religious services because there is no clarity about weddings and funeral gatherings especially when there is no social distancing on public transport, streets, shopping malls and restaurants.

Tikoduadua claims that police reportedly told the family of a 90-year-old woman whose funeral is to take place today in Sigatoka that only five people are allowed to gather.

He says common sense dictates that 6 people are required to be pallbearers and in this case, the woman has 16 children and 40 grand-children.

We have contacted Police about this claim. They are yet to comment.

Tikoduadua adds when similar measures were enforced last year the number was restricted to 20 and although it was illogical, it provided some clarity.

He says it seems everyone including enforcers of the law have their own interpretation of the measures announced by the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong has made it clear that non-work gatherings should not be happening of any size, anywhere in Fiji.

Doctor Fong says he knows this is a bitter pill to swallow for those who had planned religious celebrations but this is a life or death matter.

He says those services, no matter how small, could put lives at risk.

Doctor Fong says their discipline and sacrifice today will keep COVID-stricken patients out of ICUs and prevent loss of life.

He asks people, for now, please keep your celebrations within your homes and restricted to members of your households.

Doctor Fong says find comfort in family, and have faith that our strict adherence to these health measures will restore our precious freedom to gather for religious services once Fiji is safe again.

Doctor Fong also says the soldier who tested positive over the weekend remains in border quarantine facility and he never entered public spaces.

He says their contact tracing has been limited to his 69 primary contacts within the facility as well as their 267 secondary contacts. These contacts are all in quarantine.

The 53-year-old maid is the only positive case from the soldier’s 69 primary contacts.


Thu 22nd Apr


Two children from Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham confirmed as latest COVID-19 cases

Contact tracing continues in Nasomo Tavua and Saweni Beach
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong.

  • There is little chance that the daughter had the virus when she went to school on Monday - Dr Fong.
  • Dr Fong has raised serious concern about those that have revealed the name of the 14-year-old girl.
  • Samples have been collected for 200 people who attended the funeral in Tavakubu. No new cases have come in.

Fiji has two new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they are two children from Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham which is a containment area.

These two children are a 7-month-old son and the 14-year-old daughter of the 40-year-old woman from Cunningham who was earlier confirmed as a positive case of COVID-19.

Testing and contact tracing has continued through last night and into today.

He says they want everyone to know that they have not identified any new clusters of cases in the community.

Doctor Fong says both children initially tested negative for the virus, on Tuesday April 20th, the day they entered isolation.

He says that gives them a high degree of confidence that they are latent cases, which means they were entered into isolation before they became infectious.

Doctor Fong says while the 14-year-old girl did attend school on Monday April 19th, they believe there is little chance that she passed the virus to others.

However, out of an abundance of caution, they will be running a screening exercise based on the daughter’s movements.

He also reminds everyone that the ministry identified this family because they made the patriotic decision to come forward and because they were honest with them about where they had been.

Doctor Fong says they deserve our thanks and nothing less.

He stresses that the virus is the problem, not any one person, and we have to at all costs, protect the privacy of Fijians living with the virus.

Following the circulation of an internal school email that reveals the name of the 14-year-old girl, Doctor Fong says they are talking about children here, some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

He says children are anxious, they are scared, and the last thing they need is to have their privacy violated, and their information blasted out online.

Doctor Fong says the stigmatisation of Fijians living with COVID-19 has very real consequences, when bullies online take advantage of other people’s suffering

Meanwhile he says they have collected samples that will be tested for 200 people who attended the funeral at Tavakubu that was attended by the hotel staff case.

They have not confirmed any new positive cases at this time.

The window for transmission is still open, and contact tracing for the funeral continues, so that may change.

Nasomo in Tavua, has also been identified as a screening zone based on the movements of the case from Wainitarawau Cunningham after the funeral.

The same rules established for the Wainitarawau Settlement apply here: No one is allowed to leave. Those who reside in the community may return, but they must stay there for at least the next 14 days.

The Health Ministry is still looking for the mini bus driver who drove the hotel staff on the evening of the 17th of April from the Lautoka City Mini Bus Stand to Nadi at around 5pm, as well as the passengers of that mini bus.

After their investigation into the travel history of the mother in Wainitarawau Settlement, the ministry is also expanding their contact tracing to individuals who were at Saweni Beach from 10am to 3:30pm on Saturday 17th April 2021.

Doctor Fong says if you were at Saweni Beach during that period, please call 158 right now.

Stay home until the Ministry can check on you.

Fiji also has six new border quarantine cases.

One is a 38-year-old man who arrived from Malaysia on April 8th.

The other five are members of a family that arrived on 8th April from the Philippines, two other members of the same travelling family had tested positive during entry testing; this was announced on April 17th.

There are now 19 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

This is the highest number of active cases that Fiji has ever registered.

14 of these cases are at the border, and five are locally-transmitted cases.


Emotional plea from Dr Fong after circulation of confidential email about 14-yr-old COVID-19 patient

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says he is really disappointed and wished people had more sense and be a little more caring after a confidential email showing the name of one of Fiji’s latest COVID-19 patients was being circulated.

He is calling on people to stop sharing that email if they receive it.

Doctor Fong says people need to be more sensitive and that email could have been easily written and sent without the 14-year-old girl’s name.

Doctor Fong says people should show love.



Head of School suspended after sending confidential email about COVID-19 patient

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 22/04/2021
Education Minister Rosy Akbar

The Head of School who sent a confidential email stating the name of one of Fiji’s latest COVID-19 patients has been suspended from duties until further notice.

This has been confirmed by Education Minister Rosy Akbar who says she is disappointed towards the way the Head of School handled the COVID-19 reporting and communication protocol.

She says it is rather unfortunate that the details of the student had been released and is now circulating on social media.

Akbar is asking all school heads and teachers to exercise confidentiality when dealing with issues related to Child Safety and Protection.



Health team currently contacting teachers of the school that the 14-year-old COVID-19 positive case attends – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

A team from the Central Division Command Centre is currently contacting the teachers of the school that the 14-year-old student from Cunningham attends.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong confirms the team is also organizing a screening program for them.

He says the operational details involve going to individual homes.

Doctor Fong says he had already anticipated that they will get more cases from the funeral that was held in Tavakubu, Lautoka.




200 tested from Tavakubu funeral

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they have collected samples that will be tested for 200 people who attended the funeral at Tavakubu.

Doctor Fong says they have not confirmed any new positive cases from the funeral at this time.

He says the window for transmission is still open, and contact tracing for the funeral continues, so that may change.

Nasomo in Tavua, has also been identified as a screening zone based on the movements of the case from Wainitarawau Cunningham after the funeral.

The same rules established for the Wainitarawau Settlement apply here: No one is allowed to leave. Those who reside in the community may return, but they must stay there for at least the next 14 days.

The Health Ministry is still looking for the mini bus driver who drove the hotel staff on the evening of the 17th of April from the Lautoka City Mini Bus Stand to Nadi at around 5pm, as well as the passengers of that mini bus.

After their investigation into the travel history of the mother in Wainitarawau Settlement, the ministry is also expanding their contact tracing to individuals who were at Saweni Beach from 10am to 3:30pm on Saturday 17th April 2021.

Doctor Fong says if you were at Saweni Beach during that period, please call the Health Ministry on 158. Stay home until the Ministry can check on you.



19 active COVID-19 cases in Fiji

5 locally transmitted and 14 border quarantine cases confirmed
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

There are now 19 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this is the highest number of active cases that Fiji has ever registered.

14 of these cases are at the border, and five are locally-transmitted cases.

Fiji also has six new border quarantine cases.

One is a 38 year old man who arrived from Malaysia on April 8th.

The other five are members of a family that arrived on 8th April from the Philippines, two other members of the same travelling family had tested positive during entry testing; this was announced on April 17th.



Definition of high-risk businesses widened – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 22/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The definition of high-risk businesses that have been closed throughout Viti Levu, including in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area have been widened.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the businesses include gyms, movie theatres, video gaming shops, cyber cafes, taverns, bars, billiard shops and amusement arcades, as well as hairdressers, barber shops, spas, beauty therapy, massage therapy venues, saunas and tattoo parlours.

He says the nature of these businesses means they cannot operate with proper COVID-safe protocols, including enforced physical distancing of two metres.

Doctor Fong says they should all close everywhere on Viti Levu for at least the next 14 days.

The suspension of international passenger travel is in effect, with the exception of Fijians travelling for medical purposes and other passengers as approved by the Permanent Secretary for Health.



Waicoka Village restrictions will be eased once Moturiki group second test results returns negative

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 22/04/2021
Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan

Public health restrictions for Waicoka Village in Tailevu will only be eased once the result of the second COVID-19 test is negative for the three people from Moturiki who attended the funeral at Tavakubu in Lautoka on Saturday.

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says their first test came out negative but to be sure they will be testing them for the second time.

Dr Sahukhan says they have established that this group did spend some time in Waicoka Village and for that reason, they have added these public health measures in that village.

She adds that they also understand that the Moturiki group were not infectious when they spent time in the village.




Sat 24th Apr


Dr Fong calls on mini bus drivers to wear masks for Fiji

Homemade masks offer some protection
By Semi Turaga
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says he would really like the Fiji Mini Bus Association to encourage its members to wear masks and understand that they are doing this for Fiji.

This is after the Viti Mini Buses said that mini bus drivers will decide for themselves if they want to follow the COVID-19 protocols.

He says he really would not like to resort to making the wearing of masks mandatory.

Doctor Fong stresses that mini bus drivers can refuse to take passengers who are not wearing masks.

He says gradually more people will wear masks if the mini bus drivers go ahead and refuse passengers that are not wearing masks.

Doctor Fong says people can go to the Health Ministry website to check out instructions on how to make a homemade face mask.

He says you should have two layers of cloth so that it can cover your nose and also be underneath the chin.

Doctor Fong stresses that this advice is in line with the recommendations by the World Health Organisation and the US Centres for Disease Control.

He says homemade masks offer some protection.



Organisations like Empower Pacific are providing psycho-social support to people in quarantine – Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong says they are working with organisations like Empower Pacific who are providing psycho-social support to the people in quarantine.

He says there are other civil society organisations that are working with them.

Dr. Fong says they work with them even after cyclones where these organisations provide psycho-social support during recovery period and they are using the same network to also facilitate this service for those in quarantine.

He says this support is being provided through zoom sessions.

Dr. Fong says there are doctors who walk around quarantine, and make assessments based on the questions they ask.




No strong evidence that more than three people travelled out of Viti Levu - Dr Fong

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong has stressed that there is no strong evidence that more than three people from the funeral in Tavakubu travelled out of Viti Levu.

He says a programme is underway in Lautoka where they are receiving information on whether any other people that attended the funeral travelled out of Viti Levu.

Dr Fong says there are also rumours spreading in the public about this but whenever they check, these rumours turn out to be untrue.

He adds a lot of work is being done to verify these rumours because not all rumours are based on facts.

The three people from Moturiki have tested negative for COVID-19.



Screening programmes to be ramped up today – Dr Fong

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong has highlighted they chose Sunday to restrict the movement of people because they will be ramping up their screening programmes.

He says they understand that most places will not be open today and most people will be spending this day with their families.

Doctor Fong says if they can confine the whole of Viti Levu, it will be easier for them to ramp up their screening programmes in targeted places.

He adds that some supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to open today as they are considered essential services.

The screening areas in Viti Levu are Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham and Nasomo settlement in Tavua.


Fiji has 1 new COVID-19 locally transmitted case

14-year-old daughter of hotel staff tests positive
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.
  • 6 locally transmitted cases now in Fiji.
  • 3 of these cases were not infectious while in the community.
  • They are all from the soldier who first contracted the virus and then passed on to the hotel maid.

Fiji has a new locally transmitted case of COVID-19 which means we now have 20 active cases in isolation

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the patient is the 14 year old daughter of the hotel staff who has been the central focus of the Health Ministry’s contact tracing.

Doctor Fong says the daughter did travel with her mum to the funeral at Tavakubu on April 16th and 17th however she had no symptoms and tested negative when entered into quarantine on Sunday April 18th.

She has tested positive on day 4 of quarantine.

Doctor Fong says this indicates that she was entered into quarantine before she became infectious.

He explains that they know that this virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days. So a person may take up to 14 days to have enough virus in their bodies to develop symptoms, or trigger a positive test result.

He says the level of virus that becomes detectable on a test also relates to how infectious that person is at the time.

Doctor Fong says if someone has no symptoms and tests negative in the community, it is very unlikely that they were infectious, even if they later test positive during the 14-day quarantine period.

We now have 6 locally transmitted cases that can all be traced back to the soldier who caught the virus while working in a border quarantine facility.

The Permanent Secretary says 3 of these latest local cases were not infectious while they were in the community.

He says they know this because they had no symptoms at the time, and were negative on their first test when they entered quarantine. It was only on their second test in quarantine that they tested positive.

Apart from the 6 locally transmitted cases we have 14 from border quarantine.

More than 800 tests were conducted over the last 24 hours.




Curfew hours remain the same however only essential movement allowed from 7pm Saturday to 11pm tonight

Dr Fong raises concern about misleading tweet, Moturiki breach by man
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the nationwide curfew between 11pm and 4am remains however they are asking for restricted movement outside of the curfew hours from 7pm Saturday until 11pm tonight

During this window of restricted movement, businesses such as supermarkets and pharmacies may open at the discretion of their management. Public transportation may run, with mask-wearing enforced.

Doctor Fong says no other workplaces should open.

Apart from shopping for food or medicine, or travelling for a medical emergency, there are no other reasons to leave your home.

If you are out and about without an essential reason, the police will ask you to go back to where you reside.

Doctor Fong says if these protocols are not followed, he will have to recommend lockdown measures for entire towns and cities.

He says everyone should stay in their homes and only spend time with members of their household.

Doctor Fong says it’s important that you do this, because the Health Ministry teams are going to use that window to conduct health screenings in targeted regions throughout Viti Levu.

Health officials will also be checking Fijians for COVID-like symptoms and making sure they have not had contact with someone who was contagious for the virus.

He says there are still too many unknowns to determine how long the rest of the health restrictions will remain in place.

More tests must be run, more time must be given to confirm that the virus is not lurking in some communities. If the numbers point to a wider outbreak, the ministry won’t hesitate to escalate their response.

The Permanent Secretary is also urging businesses to close up shop well before 7pm tonight so that staff and customers have time to head home.

If you are heading home using public transportation, wear a mask, and wear it properly.

He says their teams across Viti Levu have seen a notable increase in mask-wearing among members of the public.

Doctor Fong says that is great news and it means a great deal to them at the ministry to see so many Fijians share their mission to keep Fiji safe.

He also says if you are alone in your personal vehicle, or with other members of your household, you do not need to wear a mask. But when you exit the vehicle, please place one on.

Meanwhile Doctor Fong says he was a bit disturbed by a couple of tweets that went out from a reporter who freelancers for a number of media organisations outside of Fiji.

He says yesterday the reporter posted an incorrect tweet saying Fiji would be under a nationwide curfew starting tonight.

Doctor Fong says that was wrong.

He says they asked her to remove that tweet and thankfully, she did.

An apology tweet was posted however stating that the police would arrest people who were out without an essential reason was also misleading.

Doctor Fong says during the window of restricted movement, the Fiji Police will be asking people to stay home. That is where they want you, at home.

He says we have had a few instances of rule-breaking.

After they established Moturiki Island as a screening zone, a man was picked up on Ovalau after he swam across the channel.

Doctor Fong says the man is with the Police now, and he won’t be swimming anywhere for the next 14 days until he is cleared from the screening zone.

He says that he knows that may be funny to some people, but it is a real problem for the health officials.



Dr Fong thanks businesses assisting the Ministry in the fight against COVID

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health has thanked a number of business houses coming forward to assist the Health Ministry in it’s fight against COVID-19.

Doctor James Fong says he was sent some awesome photos of food items donated by Billy Singh of Kundan Singh Supermarket today. This was being delivered to the families within the screening zone at Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham.

Doctor Fong says hotels like the Tanoa and the Crow’s Nest have also supported the surgical teams working in Sigatoka and Rakiraki.

The Holiday Inn has helped provide meals and catering to our health officials.

He also thanked Women in Business and the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry for reaching out to their members, and to other businesses, to adhere to the health protocols.

Doctor Fong also made special mention of Tanoa Hotel.

He says they have been with them from the very beginning and have supported them in many different ways.

He hopes to see other business organisations step-up and do the same.






People will not be allowed to go out of the country for business trips for the time being

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 24/04/2021

People will not be allowed to leave the country for business trips for the time being.

This is after concerns were raised that the person who the soldier got COVID-19 from had recently returned from a business trip from India.

When questioned if Fiji will limit business trips or not, the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong has confirmed that at the moment people will only be allowed to travel for medical reasons.

Dr Fong says there are some outgoing flights that are granted on a case by case basis especially those who are going for medical treatment.

He has also confirmed that they have put some countries such as India on red zone.

Dr Fong says the only people they are not refusing are Fijians who are returning however they are currently being affected because the Ministry is reducing the number of flights coming in due to the outbreak.



Mini bus drivers will follow the COVID-19 protocols - Chand

Association should encourage their members to wear masks knowing that they are doing it for Fiji - Fong
By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar, Shanil Singh
Saturday 24/04/2021

Central Eastern Mini Bus Association President, Naresh Chand says if the government has directed them to maintain a 2 metres distance in the mini buses, then they will have to follow it even if it means that they will be carrying 1 passenger or not driving at all.

Chand says it will not be profitable and they may have to cease their operation until the government gives them the green light to carry passengers at full capacity.

Fijivillage has seen mini buses operating at full capacity.

When asked what the Association will do to these drivers, Chand says the drivers are aware of the directives and they need to follow it.

He adds law enforcement agencies must enforce the directives.

Viti Mini Buses Cooperative Limited founding member, Albert Jackson says they will follow the directives but they may have to cease operations because it is not viable.

He says if the operators have to adhere to the directives then automatically, they will not operate if they can only carry about 5 passengers.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says he would really like the Mini Buses Association to encourage their members to wear masks knowing that they are doing it for Fiji.

He says he really does not want to resort to mandating it and drivers can refuse passengers who are not wearing masks so that passengers can gradually start wearing masks.

All drivers and passengers will have to wear masks. Drivers will not be allowed to drive if they don't wear masks and people will not be allowed to board public transport if they do not have masks.

The Permanent Secretary says drivers and transport operators must make this sacrifice or they will not be operating at all.

If they do not follow the protocols, those businesses will be shut down.

Land Transport Authority officials will also be on the ground to enforce this.



Fiji has 1 new COVID-19 locally transmitted case

14-year-old daughter of hotel staff tests positive
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.
  • 6 locally transmitted cases now in Fiji.
  • 3 of these cases were not infectious while in the community.
  • They are all from the soldier who first contracted the virus and then passed on to the hotel maid.

Fiji has a new locally transmitted case of COVID-19 which means we now have 20 active cases in isolation

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the patient is the 14 year old daughter of the hotel staff who has been the central focus of the Health Ministry’s contact tracing.

Doctor Fong says the daughter did travel with her mum to the funeral at Tavakubu on April 16th and 17th however she had no symptoms and tested negative when entered into quarantine on Sunday April 18th.

She has tested positive on day 4 of quarantine.

Doctor Fong says this indicates that she was entered into quarantine before she became infectious.

He explains that they know that this virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days. So a person may take up to 14 days to have enough virus in their bodies to develop symptoms, or trigger a positive test result.

He says the level of virus that becomes detectable on a test also relates to how infectious that person is at the time.

Doctor Fong says if someone has no symptoms and tests negative in the community, it is very unlikely that they were infectious, even if they later test positive during the 14-day quarantine period.

We now have 6 locally transmitted cases that can all be traced back to the soldier who caught the virus while working in a border quarantine facility.

The Permanent Secretary says 3 of these latest local cases were not infectious while they were in the community.

He says they know this because they had no symptoms at the time, and were negative on their first test when they entered quarantine. It was only on their second test in quarantine that they tested positive.

Apart from the 6 locally transmitted cases we have 14 from border quarantine.

More than 800 tests were conducted over the last 24 hours.




Curfew hours remain the same however only essential movement allowed from 7pm Saturday to 11pm tonight

Dr Fong raises concern about misleading tweet, Moturiki breach by man
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the nationwide curfew between 11pm and 4am remains however they are asking for restricted movement outside of the curfew hours from 7pm Saturday until 11pm tonight

During this window of restricted movement, businesses such as supermarkets and pharmacies may open at the discretion of their management. Public transportation may run, with mask-wearing enforced.

Doctor Fong says no other workplaces should open.

Apart from shopping for food or medicine, or travelling for a medical emergency, there are no other reasons to leave your home.

If you are out and about without an essential reason, the police will ask you to go back to where you reside.

Doctor Fong says if these protocols are not followed, he will have to recommend lockdown measures for entire towns and cities.

He says everyone should stay in their homes and only spend time with members of their household.

Doctor Fong says it’s important that you do this, because the Health Ministry teams are going to use that window to conduct health screenings in targeted regions throughout Viti Levu.

Health officials will also be checking Fijians for COVID-like symptoms and making sure they have not had contact with someone who was contagious for the virus.

He says there are still too many unknowns to determine how long the rest of the health restrictions will remain in place.

More tests must be run, more time must be given to confirm that the virus is not lurking in some communities. If the numbers point to a wider outbreak, the ministry won’t hesitate to escalate their response.

The Permanent Secretary is also urging businesses to close up shop well before 7pm tonight so that staff and customers have time to head home.

If you are heading home using public transportation, wear a mask, and wear it properly.

He says their teams across Viti Levu have seen a notable increase in mask-wearing among members of the public.

Doctor Fong says that is great news and it means a great deal to them at the ministry to see so many Fijians share their mission to keep Fiji safe.

He also says if you are alone in your personal vehicle, or with other members of your household, you do not need to wear a mask. But when you exit the vehicle, please place one on.

Meanwhile Doctor Fong says he was a bit disturbed by a couple of tweets that went out from a reporter who freelancers for a number of media organisations outside of Fiji.

He says yesterday the reporter posted an incorrect tweet saying Fiji would be under a nationwide curfew starting tonight.

Doctor Fong says that was wrong.

He says they asked her to remove that tweet and thankfully, she did.

An apology tweet was posted however stating that the police would arrest people who were out without an essential reason was also misleading.

Doctor Fong says during the window of restricted movement, the Fiji Police will be asking people to stay home. That is where they want you, at home.

He says we have had a few instances of rule-breaking.

After they established Moturiki Island as a screening zone, a man was picked up on Ovalau after he swam across the channel.

Doctor Fong says the man is with the Police now, and he won’t be swimming anywhere for the next 14 days until he is cleared from the screening zone.

He says that he knows that may be funny to some people, but it is a real problem for the health officials.



Dr Fong thanks businesses assisting the Ministry in the fight against COVID

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 24/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health has thanked a number of business houses coming forward to assist the Health Ministry in it’s fight against COVID-19.

Doctor James Fong says he was sent some awesome photos of food items donated by Billy Singh of Kundan Singh Supermarket today. This was being delivered to the families within the screening zone at Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham.

Doctor Fong says hotels like the Tanoa and the Crow’s Nest have also supported the surgical teams working in Sigatoka and Rakiraki.

The Holiday Inn has helped provide meals and catering to our health officials.

He also thanked Women in Business and the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry for reaching out to their members, and to other businesses, to adhere to the health protocols.

Doctor Fong also made special mention of Tanoa Hotel.

He says they have been with them from the very beginning and have supported them in many different ways.

He hopes to see other business organisations step-up and do the same.



Sun 25th Apr


We may increase or decrease the size of containment zone based on the history of the movement of the Makoi case - Fong

By Rashika Kumar
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong and Head of Health Protection Dr Alisha Sahukhan

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they may increase or decrease the size of the containment zone based on the history of the movement of the Makoi case.

When asked about how confident he is in the containment areas of Lami, Suva and Nausori, Doctor Fong says it is a big boundary and the reason for this is that they need as many people as possible to keep still.

Fong says once people stop moving, they will then decide the areas that they will prioritise for screening.

He says they will move from the high priority area to the less priority area and keep going on until they cover most of the area of interest.

Meanwhile, Head of Health Protection, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says if people move, the virus moves with them.

She adds that if you need to go out to get food, designate one person to go do the shopping because people need you to keep still and at home as much as possible.



COVID-19 case from Makoi is a big problem for us – Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong says the case of COVID-19 from Makoi is something that they are worried about and is a big problem for them.

He says they do not know how the woman got the virus.

Also, it is unknown who all she came in contact with from the time she contracted the virus to the time she got positive.

Dr Fong says the woman from Makoi just fell ill and produced herself at the screening clinic where a swab was taken.

He says Makoi is a large area and they are doing house to house screening.

Dr Fong says they will not release the name of the specific place in Makoi for now in the interest of sorting their containment plans.



Vaccination programme to continue

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 25/04/2021
World Health Organisation consultant

The vaccination programme will continue to be done around Fiji.

This has been confirmed by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong in a press conference this afternoon.

He says it was highlighted by the World Health Organisation consultant in their discussion that the vaccination programme must continue.

Dr Fong says now more than ever, it is important that vaccinations continue and they are making a lot of effort to bring in more vaccines.



Essential services and work to continue – Doctor Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Public transportation within the different containment zones will be available from today but limited to 50% seating capacity.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they have made arrangements through the Land Transport Authority for this to be practically implemented.

Civil servants will be authorised to work from home at the discretion of their respective Permanent Secretaries.

Doctor Fong says essential businesses will remain open, as they did during the lockdown period last year.

That list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services, and roading services.

If your business is not on this list, close it down.

The ports of Lautoka and Suva will remain open for international freight shipping and inter-island cargo shipping.

Any inter-island passenger travel from the ports of Suva, Denarau, Vuda, and Lautoka remain prohibited.

They will implement the previous Agriculture Marketing Authority arrangements to get food and produce into the respective containment zones.

At all checkpoints, suppliers can arrange with a police driver to ensure that produce still comes into the respective containment zones, and they do not let the virus escape the containment zones.

Employers in the listed essential businesses need to arrange a permission document for their employees in order to pass through the checkpoints, as was the case during the previous lockdown.

Employers should also try and make arrangements for their critical workers to move into the zones for the 14 day period.

Please contact 158 to acquire the permission documents which are your passes.

The Fiji Police Force will efficiently facilitate responses.

For those who cannot attend work at all because of the set-up of the containment zones, they will be able to access $220 a fortnight from their FNPF.

If funds are insufficient, the Government will top up the accounts.

Even within the respective containment zones, residents are again advised to avoid large social gatherings, particularly indoors.

Doctor Fong says your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households.

If you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but wear masks and maintain social distance when you must be out.

It is particularly important to download the careFIJI app and keep your phone Bluetooth turned on.

Wash your hands regularly.

Doctor Fong says we cannot afford to lose the war against this virus.

He says most Fijians are following and respecting the rules put in place but too many still aren’t.

Doctor Fong says if you’ve been thinking that this virus isn’t your problem, or that somehow your behavior hasn’t needed to change, get a grip.

He says this virus is here and it is serious.

Report any symptoms you’re feeling as soon as they develop by calling the COVID-19 Call Centre on toll-free number 158.

Stop sharing bilos and takis. Stop shaking hands, touching and embracing.

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, multiple times a day.



COVID-19 containment areas set in Lami, Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says beginning today, when the curfew period ends, and for the next 14 days, the greater public will not be allowed in or out of the following containment zones :

Lami to Suva Nausori areas - For a period of 14 days, they will be closing off exits at the checkpoints, starting from 4am today, the 26th of April: beginning from Wainadoi to Tamavua-i- Wai which is the Lami containment area, Tamavua-i-Wai to 8 Miles Bridge near Rups Nakasi which is the Suva containment area and 8 Miles Bridge near Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Road which is the Nausori containment area.

Doctor Fong says the Nadi to Lautoka containment area will be divided into two zones — Nadi Zone will begin from Momi Junction to Lomolomo Police Post and from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

Doctor Fong says the current free movement between Lautoka to Nadi will no longer be allowed for the next 14 days beginning today.

Only persons traveling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints.

All non-essential businesses must remain closed.

Doctor Fong says supermarkets and shops selling food and other essential items will remain open so that people can buy these essential items within their respective containment zones.

Similar to other essential services, markets will remain open only in and for the respective containment zones.

Pharmacies will also remain open.

The Permanent Secretary for Health says food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops, markets and supermarkets.

He urges people not to run to the supermarkets and bulk buy goods this afternoon as doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at risk.

Restaurants can remain open but only for takeaway and delivery orders within and for the containment zones.

Limited banking services will be available, as will FNPF and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.



Suva Retailers Association assists families in containment areas and frontline workers

By Rashika Kumar
Sunday 25/04/2021
[image: supplied]

The Suva Retailers Association has provided 100 food packs for families in the containment areas and 20 cartons of water and other food items for frontline workers.

Association’s President, Jitesh Patel says the supplies were handed over to the Ministry of Health today who will be coordinating the distribution.

He says the Ministry has a list of families in the containment areas who need assistance.

Patel is urging business houses and other individuals to come forward and assist those affected by the containment areas and the frontline workers.




From today people are not allowed to enter containment areas in Lami, Suva and Nausori

4 new COVID-19 cases, 3 in Nadi and Lautoka, 1 in Makoi
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong.

Fiji now has 24 COVID-19 cases as 4 new cases were recorded on Saturday.

This has resulted in containment areas in Lami, Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says 2 of these cases are in Nadi, 1 is in Lautoka and 1 is in Makoi.

He says 3 of the cases involved persons who attended the funeral that the Health Ministry has identified as a super-spreader event, including a husband and wife who circulated through the community.

Doctor Fong says they were placed in quarantine on Friday, and the Ministry of Health is tracking their movements and contacts for the five days before they went into quarantine.

Regarding the Makoi case, Doctor Fong says they are not certain of the source of the woman’s infection, but the Ministry of Health is busy doing contact tracing to determine who she may have been in contact with before or after she was infected.

He says the woman from Makoi and her husband have been placed in quarantine, but prudence requires them to treat this case as a possible community transmission.

Doctor Fong says because they cannot yet pin down the movements of these people and identify all their contacts, the Health Ministry is forced to take strict precautionary measures against the possibility that the virus has spread within the Lami, Suva and Nausori areas and within the Nadi-Lautoka area.

He says once they receive further information regarding the Makoi case, there will be appropriate variations to these measures.

Doctor Fong says their purpose is to keep people from circulating unnecessarily.

He says if people don’t move, the virus won’t move.

Beginning at 4am tomorrow, when the curfew period ends, and for the next 14 days, the greater public will not be allowed in or out of the following containment zones :

Lami to Suva Nausori areas - For a period of 14 days, they will be closing off exits at the checkpoints, starting from 4am tomorrow morning, the 26th of April: beginning from Wainadoi to Tamavua-i- Wai which is the Lami containment area, Tamavua-i-Wai to 8 Miles near Rups Mega in Nakasi which is the Suva containment area and 8 Miles near Rups Mega in Nakasi to Logani Village on Kings Road which is the Nausori containment area.

Doctor Fong says the Nadi to Lautoka containment area will be divided into two zones — Nadi Zone will begin from Momi Junction to Lomolomo Police Post and from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

Doctor Fong says the current free movement between Lautoka to Nadi will no longer be allowed for the next 14 days beginning tomorrow.

Only persons travelling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints.

All non-essential businesses must remain closed.

Doctor Fong says supermarkets and shops selling food and other essential items will remain open so that people can buy these essential items within their respective containment zones.

Similar to other essential services, markets will remain open only in and for the respective containment zones.

Pharmacies will also remain open.

The Permanent Secretary for Health says food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops, markets and supermarkets.

He urges people not run to the supermarkets and bulk buy goods this afternoon as doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at risk.

Restaurants can remain open but only for takeaway and delivery orders within and for the containment zones. Limited banking services will be available, as will FNPF and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.



COVID-19 containment areas set in Lami, Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says beginning today, when the curfew period ends, and for the next 14 days, the greater public will not be allowed in or out of the following containment zones :

Lami to Suva Nausori areas - For a period of 14 days, they will be closing off exits at the checkpoints, starting from 4am today, the 26th of April: beginning from Wainadoi to Tamavua-i- Wai which is the Lami containment area, Tamavua-i-Wai to 8 Miles Bridge near Rups Nakasi which is the Suva containment area and 8 Miles Bridge near Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Road which is the Nausori containment area.

Doctor Fong says the Nadi to Lautoka containment area will be divided into two zones — Nadi Zone will begin from Momi Junction to Lomolomo Police Post and from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

Doctor Fong says the current free movement between Lautoka to Nadi will no longer be allowed for the next 14 days beginning today.

Only persons traveling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints.

All non-essential businesses must remain closed.

Doctor Fong says supermarkets and shops selling food and other essential items will remain open so that people can buy these essential items within their respective containment zones.

Similar to other essential services, markets will remain open only in and for the respective containment zones.

Pharmacies will also remain open.

The Permanent Secretary for Health says food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops, markets and supermarkets.

He urges people not to run to the supermarkets and bulk buy goods this afternoon as doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at risk.

Restaurants can remain open but only for takeaway and delivery orders within and for the containment zones.

Limited banking services will be available, as will FNPF and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service.


 

Essential services and work to continue – Doctor Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 25/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Public transportation within the different containment zones will be available from today but limited to 50% seating capacity.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they have made arrangements through the Land Transport Authority for this to be practically implemented.

Civil servants will be authorised to work from home at the discretion of their respective Permanent Secretaries.

Doctor Fong says essential businesses will remain open, as they did during the lockdown period last year.

That list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services, and roading services.

If your business is not on this list, close it down.

The ports of Lautoka and Suva will remain open for international freight shipping and inter-island cargo shipping.

Any inter-island passenger travel from the ports of Suva, Denarau, Vuda, and Lautoka remain prohibited.

They will implement the previous Agriculture Marketing Authority arrangements to get food and produce into the respective containment zones.

At all checkpoints, suppliers can arrange with a police driver to ensure that produce still comes into the respective containment zones, and they do not let the virus escape the containment zones.

Employers in the listed essential businesses need to arrange a permission document for their employees in order to pass through the checkpoints, as was the case during the previous lockdown.

Employers should also try and make arrangements for their critical workers to move into the zones for the 14 day period.

Please contact 158 to acquire the permission documents which are your passes.

The Fiji Police Force will efficiently facilitate responses.

For those who cannot attend work at all because of the set-up of the containment zones, they will be able to access $220 a fortnight from their FNPF.

If funds are insufficient, the Government will top up the accounts.

Even within the respective containment zones, residents are again advised to avoid large social gatherings, particularly indoors.

Doctor Fong says your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households.

If you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but wear masks and maintain social distance when you must be out.

It is particularly important to download the careFIJI app and keep your phone Bluetooth turned on.

Wash your hands regularly.

Doctor Fong says we cannot afford to lose the war against this virus.

He says most Fijians are following and respecting the rules put in place but too many still aren’t.

Doctor Fong says if you’ve been thinking that this virus isn’t your problem, or that somehow your behavior hasn’t needed to change, get a grip.

He says this virus is here and it is serious.

Report any symptoms you’re feeling as soon as they develop by calling the COVID-19 Call Centre on toll-free number 158.

Stop sharing bilos and takis. Stop shaking hands, touching and embracing.

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, multiple times a day.




Mon 26th Apr


We will start community and home isolation if things escalate - Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong says they are at a stage where they can keep severe cases of COVID-19 in big hospitals and less severe cases in sub-divisional hospitals.

He says this is where they have sub-divisional hospitals like Nadi and Navua operating as isolation facilities.

Dr. Fong says if things escalate then they will start with community isolation and if it further escalates, then they have to come up with home isolation protocols.

He says everywhere in the world as they get more COVID-19 cases, the authorities start to create isolation facilities in the community where a hospital setting is replicated into community isolation.



Its now easier to pass the virus from one person to another - Dr. Fong

We have 80 ventilators and 40 are in use
By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong has stressed that its easier to pass the virus from one person to another and we just have to be careful.

While responding to questions on the more infectious variant, Dr. Fong says before they had said the contact duration had to be 15 minutes and now the duration may have to be shorter between people for the virus to catch someone or sharing just one puff of the cigarette may help to pass the virus.

He says while it has become easier to pass the virus from one person to another, the modes of transportation are the same and therefore mitigation measures are the same.

Dr. Fong says we just need to be careful and our mask wearing, hand sanitizing and social distancing protocols have to be applied more stringently.

He also confirms that Fiji has 80 ventilators.

40 ventilators are in use while 40 are in reserve.



Call police if you see people playing sports

I have signed the gazette which will give us the power to stop these gatherings - Dr Fong
By Shanil Singh
Monday 26/04/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says they need the community at large to talk to the people who are playing sports and they should call the police to deal with these people if they persist.

This is after Legend FM News witnessed some people playing volleyball in Nadawa yesterday afternoon while some people contacted us and said that they had seen some youths playing rugby in Caubati and no action was taken.

Dr Fong says he has signed the gazette notices which will give them enough legal powers to stop all these social gatherings.

He says what they normally see is that it is usually the younger ones who are less likely to follow the measures in place and take risks.

Dr Fong says the unfortunate point is that because the younger population are resistant to the severe effects of the virus, they will not incur much of the risk.

The Permanent Secretary says these people are just passing it to the vulnerable group which can lead to a massive outbreak.

He adds this will mean that all the doctors and nurses will have to go back to the hospital.



Expect firmer management of containment zone borders from today

By Semi Turaga
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says from today, people will see a much firmer management of borders along the containment zones in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka.

He says he expects that as they move forward they will start to escalate and tighten up their measures a lot more.

Doctor Fong says they did allow a little bit of free movement yesterday because they needed people to go to their homes.

The Permanent Secretary for Health says he has set up a team to screen people that are requesting to move out of containment zones.

He says people should only make the request to move out of a containment zone if they desperately need to move.



Dr. Fong says it is reasonable to make an assumption that the COVID variant is from India

By Naveel Krishant
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

The Health Ministry says it is reasonable to make an assumption that the variant of COVID-19 in Fiji is from India.

Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong says from the beginning they have acted as if this is the variant.

Dr. Fong also says they have already said that the original virus seems to have come from India.

He adds he expects to get more details from the samples they sent to Australia by today.

Dr.Fong also says this will enable him to discuss more extensively in terms of what it means.



Ministry tracks movements of Makoi family as they had a large number of contacts in the community

Call 158 if you attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am Sunday 18th April
By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they are currently tracking the movements of the Makoi family who have tested positive of COVID-19, and initial investigations indicate that they had a large number of contacts in the community and moved around extensively.

Doctor Fong confirms that their likely window of transmission for the family, starting with the Makoi woman’s husband extends from Monday April 12th to Sunday April 25th.

He says they have cordoned off a certain area where the Makoi family who have tested positive for COVID-19 resides and it is a very busy area.

Doctor Fong says the zone is marked by two bridges and 31,000 people are living in this zone.

He says these people are earmarked for more intense screening.

The Permanent Secretary says they will be swabbing everyone close to the family home and the 31,000 people.

He says even though they now know that they do not have community transmission, they will still need to maintain the containment areas.

Doctor Fong says the maintenance of the current containment areas will help them trace all their contacts more effectively and quickly.

He says in the meantime all health protocols as announced on Sunday will remain.

Doctor Fong is also making an urgent plea to all those who attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am Sunday 18th April and anyone who travelled from Viti Levu to any of the outer islands including Vanua Levu from Monday 19th April - to contact the nearest health team or the 158 helpline.

He urges all Fijians to stay the course and follow the measures that are necessary to contain this outbreak and get us back to normal.

Please remain at home and try to take care of all necessary business such as shopping for groceries and other necessities in your immediate neighbourhoods.

Wear your masks if you must go out, avoid social gatherings and maintain social distance of at least two metres when you are outside your home.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for about 20 seconds each time or use hand sanitizer. Please also ensure you have the careFIJI app on.



12 new COVID-19 cases

Fiji now has 36 cases of COVID-19 in quarantine
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Fiji now has 36 active COVID-19 cases in isolation, 14 of which are border quarantine cases, with 22 locally transmitted cases.

While making the announcement, Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they are now able to confirm that contrary to what they feared on Sunday, Fiji does not have a new cluster or community transmission.

Doctor Fong says they have recorded 12 new cases of COVID-19 since their last update on Sunday. The first case is a soldier working in a border quarantine facility in Nadi, and he is the roommate of case 73, the first border quarantine soldier announced to have been infected by the virus on Sunday, April 18th.

Doctor Fong says this new case had tested negative on his first test and does not pose a transmission risk to the public as he has been contained within the government quarantine facility since Sunday, April 18th, and tested positive now after 7 days in quarantine.

4 of the new cases are close contacts of the hotel quarantine staff who traveled to the funeral in Tavakubu.

The 4 tested negative when they entered quarantine but have now tested positive.

Doctor Fong says this indicates that they were not infectious while in the community.

The next 7 new cases are related, and are all close household contacts of the 29-year-old female from Makoi who they revealed on Sunday was potentially the first case of community transmission.

He says by community transmission they mean a case that cannot be linked to other cases or to international travel.

Doctor Fong says finding a case of community transmission is of great concern, because it indicates that an outbreak is widespread and uncontrolled, with a devastating outbreak imminent.

However, he says further investigation has revealed that the infected Makoi woman’s husband is a 30-year-old soldier who works in a border quarantine facility in Nadi, and he has tested positive.

Doctor Fong says as per protocol this soldier was tested for the virus on April 10th before being released to return home to Suva on April 12th, and he had tested negative.

He says they can confirm that, between the negative test result on April 10th and returning home on April 12th, he had close contact with case 73, the border quarantine soldier who had also tested negative on 10th April and likely got infected shortly after swabbing.

Doctor Fong says, unfortunately, this soldier, who is the husband of the Makoi case, came into contact with case 73, before case 73 was found to be positive.

He says the current information indicates that the woman from Makoi caught the virus from her husband. Establishing this link between the Makoi case all the way back to case 73 means that this Makoi case will now be re-classified as a case of local transmission, and not community transmission.


Ministry tracks movements of Makoi family as they had a large number of contacts in the community

Call 158 if you attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am Sunday 18th April
By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they are currently tracking the movements of the Makoi family who have tested positive of COVID-19, and initial investigations indicate that they had a large number of contacts in the community and moved around extensively.

Doctor Fong confirms that their likely window of transmission for the family, starting with the Makoi woman’s husband extends from Monday April 12th to Sunday April 25th.

He says they have cordoned off a certain area where the Makoi family who have tested positive for COVID-19 resides and it is a very busy area.

Doctor Fong says the zone is marked by two bridges and 31,000 people are living in this zone.

He says these people are earmarked for more intense screening.

The Permanent Secretary says they will be swabbing everyone close to the family home and the 31,000 people.

He says even though they now know that they do not have community transmission, they will still need to maintain the containment areas.

Doctor Fong says the maintenance of the current containment areas will help them trace all their contacts more effectively and quickly.

He says in the meantime all health protocols as announced on Sunday will remain.

Doctor Fong is also making an urgent plea to all those who attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am Sunday 18th April and anyone who travelled from Viti Levu to any of the outer islands including Vanua Levu from Monday 19th April - to contact the nearest health team or the 158 helpline.

He urges all Fijians to stay the course and follow the measures that are necessary to contain this outbreak and get us back to normal.

Please remain at home and try to take care of all necessary business such as shopping for groceries and other necessities in your immediate neighbourhoods.

Wear your masks if you must go out, avoid social gatherings and maintain social distance of at least two metres when you are outside your home.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for about 20 seconds each time or use hand sanitizer. Please also ensure you have the careFIJI app on.




Bus drivers should wear masks at all times and not just at bus stands because LTA is monitoring - Shah

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 26/04/2021
Bus driver and passengers wearing masks

The Fiji Bus Operators Association is urging bus drivers to wear masks at all times as they have been seen taking off their masks once they leave the Suva Bus Stand.

The Land Transport Authority and the Suva City Council are monitoring if drivers and passengers are wearing their masks and are maintaining physical distancing in the bus.

Association President, Nisar Ali Shah says drivers have to be responsible enough and look after themselves as most bus companies have provided their drivers with the masks.

He says it is not right for the employees to not follow the directives that could stop the virus from spreading.

Shah has also highlighted that passengers should not board the bus if they see that it has reached 50% capacity and has reiterated that people should not be going into towns or cities if they do not have a valid reason.

Meanwhile, Shah has highlighted that bus operators can suspend their services depending on the number of passengers that are boarding their buses daily.

He says it will not be profitable to take a trip that only has one or two passengers and this will also reduce foot traffic in places such as towns and at the bus stops.

The Association President says bus companies are providing shuttle services within the containment area.

Bus companies such as Nair’s Transport in Nakasi, Raiwaqa Buses in the Suva area and Shore Buses in Lami are operating within their containment areas.



Most people seen wearing masks around Suva but many still not practising social distancing in certain areas

By Semi Turaga
Monday 26/04/2021

Most people could be seen walking around Suva and wearing their masks this morning but there were also people that could still be seen without a mask.

We saw some people walking around Suva with masks in their hands.

A few people were seen sitting around the Suva Bus Stand area and some of them were not practising social distancing.

Supermarkets are strictly enforcing all guidelines but it is still a concern that some people without the careFIJI app do not write their specific address for contact tracing purposes when entering the supermarket or shops.

Please write your specific address as this will make it easier for contact tracing teams.



People coming into Lautoka City to shop for basic items and to pay bills - Reddy

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 26/04/2021
Lautoka City. [Image: Narendra Reddy]

Lautoka resident, Narayan Reddy says most of the shops in Lautoka City are closed but people can be seen lining up in front of supermarkets, pharmacies and in front of Energy Fiji Limited to pay bills.

He says people are doing their basic shopping but apart from that, Lautoka looks like a ghost town.

Reddy says there is minimal movement of people who are in masks.

He says one particular supermarket that is not allowing customers without masks into their premises are selling masks at the entrance while another supermarket is checking for the careFIJI app on people’s phones and if people do not have masks, they are selling it at the entrance as well.

The resident also says that they have received calls for help from people but he has explained to them that they are taking care of themselves and their family’s well-being.

Reddy says they will not be able to give food items to families but they can make arrangements with the supermarkets where they will prepay for groceries and the families can pick what they need from the supermarket.

He is urging people to take heed of the measures announced by the government.



I can’t expect everyone to get it right the first time – Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says are trying to get COVID-safe measures in all businesses and it will be a gradual process they will go through.

This is after he was asked about a woman being turned away from a supermarket after logging in that she lives in Cunningham.

He says there will be many teething problems.

Doctor Fong says some may apply the rules more stringently and others may be too loosely.

He stresses that he can’t expect everybody to get it right the first time.

Doctor Fong says if some businesses are overly zealous, they will ask them to move down a bit.



People can be arrested loitering unnecessarily within the containment areas

This lockdown will be mandated- Dr Fong
By Vijay Narayan, Navitalai Naivalurua
Monday 26/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: Fijian Government]

There will be consequences for people who breach the COVID-19 regulations within the Suva, Lami, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka containment areas in the next 14 days.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says whoever breaches the COVID-19 regulations will be dealt with by the law since they have a standing process in place that is already legislated.

He confirms people seen loitering around unnecessarily in the next 14 days will be arrested.

Dr Fong says these lockdowns will be mandated.

Beginning from this morning, when the curfew period ends, and for the next 14 days, the greater public will not be allowed in or out of the following containment zones :

Lami to Suva Nausori areas - For a period of 14 days, they will be closing off exits at the checkpoints, starting from 4am tomorrow morning, the 26th of April: beginning from Wainadoi to Tamavua-i- Wai which is the Lami containment area, Tamavua-i-Wai to 8 Miles near Rups Mega in Nakasi which is the Suva containment area and 8 Miles near Rups Mega in Nakasi to Logani Village on Kings Road which is the Nausori containment area.

Doctor Fong says the Nadi to Lautoka containment area will be divided into two zones — Nadi Zone will begin from Momi Junction to Lomolomo Police Post and from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

Doctor Fong says the current free movement between Lautoka to Nadi will no longer be allowed for the next 14 days beginning today.



Questions raised about people crossing containment zones at Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge, Khalsa Rd and Wainibuku Bridge

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 26/04/2021
Vechicles movingthrough both sides of Wainibuku Bridge checkpoint between the Suva and Nausori containment areas

Questions are being raised on how and why some people from the Lami containment zone have been allowed to come into the Suva containment zone at Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge and through the borders in Dokanaisuva near Khalsa Road and Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Mega in Nakasi this morning.

Members of the public are asking why the people are crossing contained areas as the Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong had clearly stated that there should be no crossing of the zones unless there is an emergency situation and passes are required for this.

Doctor Fong stresses the rule remains and there should be no unnecessary movements.

He says any crossing over has to be allowed following the risk assessment and based on emergency situations.

The Permanent Secretary says once people are in a containment zone, they cannot leave that for the next 14 days.

Doctor Fong has also held a discussion with Police on this earlier today.

We are currently trying to get comments from Police.

Stay with us for that.


Tue 27th Apr


6 new COVID-19 cases announced - 4 soldiers breached protocols in quarantine

Fiji now has 42 confirmed active COVID-19 cases
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 27/04/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

Fiji now has 42 active COVID-19 cases after confirmation that the Health Ministry has detected 6 more cases in the country.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says all 6 cases were detected among Fijians who are currently in quarantine.

Doctor Fong says 4 of the 6 new cases come from soldiers who recently returned from overseas duties, some, who he says have been fraternising amongst each other during their 14-day quarantine in the border quarantine facility.

The Permanent Secretary says this is against the rules they have set in place.

Doctor Fong says the quarantine period of the soldiers had already been extended due to suspected breaches, and unfortunately, these bad apples mean that they have to reset the clock again for all soldiers within that unit, heroes who have already been separated from their families for far too long.

He says each of these new patients tested negative, multiple times, before this latest diagnosis.

Doctor Fong says that gives the Health Ministry a great level of confidence that they contracted the virus while in quarantine, very recently, from one of their colleagues.

He says this is unacceptable. Doctor Fong says no unnecessary, frivolous contact is worth an extra two weeks in quarantine, but that’s precisely what all of those in the Tanoa Hotel in Nadi will now need to endure, under much stricter watch, as they reset the clock. He stresses that Tanoa Hotel is not the problem as it is the virus that is the problem.

Doctor Fong also says thank God the ministry did so after learning that an earlier case had mingled among his companions otherwise, they would have had more cases, and more clusters, as COVID-positive soldiers returned to their families. He also says out of an abundance of caution, they will also be recalling all individuals discharged from the Tanoa Hotel from 12th of April 2021 to be screened, swabbed and tested. Doctor Fong says in addition to this cluster of soldiers, 2 cases were confirmed among family members of the woman from Wainitarawau in Cunningham.

He says these family members have been admitted in the Navua isolation unit since Wednesday April 21st and tested negative on their first 2 tests in quarantine.

Doctor Fong says as they have now tested positive after 5 days in quarantine, they are not considered a transmission risk to the public. The 6 new COVID-19 patients, all of whom are safely confined within quarantine or isolation units, brings Fiji’s total to 109 confirmed cases since our first case was detected on March 19th 2020.

He says he is saying “confirmed” because, as he has stressed before, the number of actual, undetected cases is likely higher – and that’s precisely why, for your health and the health of your loved ones, you should be wearing a mask at all times.

You must download careFIJI and keep it switched on whenever you are out of your home. Doctor Fong says if you are one of the more than 600,000 Fijians with a smartphone, there is no excuse not to have it downloaded.

He also revealed that the family from Makoi did not have the app installed or running, and that has made contact tracing far more complex than it ought to be.

The Permanent Secretary says lives are now at risk as a result.


Makoi soldier came into contact with case 73 when he went to pick up people from Tanoa Hotel - Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 27/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the soldier from Makoi was looking after Novotel Hotel and came into contact with case 73 when he went to Tanoa Hotel in Nadi to pick up people who were ready to be discharged on 12th April.

Case 73 was the first border quarantine soldier announced to have been infected by the virus on Sunday, April 18th.

Dr Fong says case 73 tested negative on the 12th and was only found positive on the 17th of April.

When questioned by fijivillage if the soldier from Makoi was one of the people contact traced when case 73 tested positive, Dr Fong says it would have been much easier to contact trace the Makoi soldier if he just had the careFiji app on.

He says they only found out about the Makoi soldier when they diagnosed his wife and linked him to case 73.

Dr Fong says the contact tracing is only as good as the travel history the ministry receives because the soldier did not have the careFiji app on.

He adds that is why they have been asking Fijians to download the app for a long time now.




Melbourne Lab confirms that recent cases of COVID-19 in Fiji are of the dangerous B1617 variant that was first detected in India

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 27/04/2021
COVID-19 test facility

The Microbiological Diagnostic Unit at the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne has confirmed that recent cases of COVID-19 in Fiji are of the B1617 variant that was first detected in India.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says their contact tracing investigations means that they already strongly suspected that this was the variant in question, as case 73, the soldier working in border quarantine only had contact with recent border quarantine cases who had travelled from India.

He says this newly-confirmed COVID variant is one of several dangerous new variants that have taken root in places like Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and in India – which is suffering a painful fourth wave the likes of which the world has never seen.

Doctor Fong says a single misstep could bring about the same “COVID tsunami” that our friends in India, Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States are enduring.

He says stopping that tsunami depends on two major factors: You, staying at home, and the Health Ministry, tracing and isolating all known cases.



We are trying to stop the movement of the virus, not to issue many passes for people to move from one zone to another – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Tuesday 27/04/2021

Now everyone’s focus is how do they get a pass and they forget the fact that we are trying to stop the movement of the virus.

This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong when questioned on the number of people and vehicles that are coming in and going out of the containment zone borders in Lami, Suva, and Nausori.

Doctor Fong says this is the problem when they are trying to make something mandatory but everyone says they need to write in the law.

Doctor Fong says yesterday he was asked to write a check box on what people and businesses need to do in order to get a pass.

He says if he does give a check box, people will try and find a loophole to try and tick the check box.

Doctor Fong says recently they talked about some industries they will have to close because they are non-essential, but because they are manufacturing some medical equipment they will be given a dispensation to move around.

Please take note that any person in a containment zone in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi, and Lautoka must not leave the containment zone they are in, with effect from 4am April 26th, 2021, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services.

This is clearly stated in the government gazette signed off by Doctor Fong.

Any person outside a containment zone must not enter another containment zone, with effect from 4am April 26th, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and any person in a containment zone may only travel within the containment zone for the purposes of employment, accessing a service provided by an essential business, or an emergency.

According to Doctor Fong’s announcement on Sunday, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunications, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services, and roading services.

Fijivillage stresses that you cannot just get a pass to cross the containment zone as it would defeat the purpose to have a containment zone to contain the virus if people are allowed to travel between one zone to the next.

According to the gazette, the Lami Containment Zone is from Wainadoi Police Post to Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge.

The Suva Containment Zone is from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge to Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi.

The Nausori Containment Zone is from Wainibuku Bridge nears Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Highway.

The Lautoka Containment Zone is from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

The Nadi Containment Zone is from the junction of Queens Road from Momi Bay to Lomolomo.

Doctor James Fong stresses that people should not move from one zone to the next unless the ministry gives approval after a risk assessment.




More than 93,000 people screened in Cunningham, Wainivula, Caubati, Tacirua, Makoi, Lautoka & Nadi

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 27/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James

More than 93,000 people in Cunningham, Lautoka, Nadi, Wainivula, Caubati, Tacirua and Makoi have been checked for COVID-like symptoms and travel histories that may place them in the path of Fijians living with COVID-19.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they have more than 120,000 Fijians left to screen in these areas, and they need as many Fijians at home as possible to do that job well. He says their contact tracing is designed to flush out cases before they become clusters.

Doctor Fong says this strategy has served them well before but it is not infallible.

He says there are gaps, particularly when it comes to identifying passengers on public transportation.

The Permanent Secretary says the careFIJI app can close those gaps, but only if you have it installed and you keep it on. There have been 200,000 downloads of the careFiji app so far.

Please download the app and keep the Bluetooth on to help the Health Ministry in contact tracing.

Meanwhile Doctor Fong says house-to-house screening, as well, may reveal some of these outbreaks-in-waiting but to screen thoroughly, we must take this effort on as a society. He says there are more than 40 screening clinics open throughout Fiji.

Every Fijian should know which clinic is closest to them and if you feel unwell, go get screened.

If you know someone who is unwell, take them to be screened or stay home and call 158 so the teams can check on you.



109 cases of COVID-19 in Fiji since March 19th 2020

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 27/04/2021
Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan

The Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says Fiji has recorded 109 cases of COVID-19 since the first case on March 19th 2020.

She says there have been 65 recoveries and 2 deaths.

Doctor Sahukhan adds with the 42 active cases, 5 are older border quarantine cases announced before Sunday, 13 are recently announced border quarantine cases and 24 are locally transmitted cases.

She says 48,677 tests have been conducted for

Doctor Sahukhan revealed that there have been 777 tests per day in the last 7 days on average.

She says there were over 500 tests yesterday.




Wed 28th Apr


Gazette states that any business must require its employees and customers who are 5 years of age or older, to wear face coverings

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 27/04/2021
People wearing masks at the Suva Bus Stand

Any business in Fiji must require its employees and customers who are 5 years of age or older, to wear face coverings in the proper manner in order to enter the premises of the business, with effect from last Saturday.

A government gazette signed off by the Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete also says any driver of a public service vehicle, or passenger in a public service vehicle who is 5 years of age or older, must wear a face-covering in the proper manner while driving or travelling in the public service vehicle.

Any driver of a bus and minibus must ensure that all the passengers in the bus are physically distanced from each other.

Face covering in the gazette means a covering with at least 2 layers of material covering the nose and mouth of a person, which is secured by being tied around the person’s ears or head or looped around the person’s ears but does not include a face shield, face visor, scarf, ski mask, balaclava, bandana, turtleneck collar pulled up over the mouth and nose or face mask with slits, valves or punctures.



Makoi soldier came into contact with case 73 when he went to pick up people from Tanoa Hotel - Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 27/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the soldier from Makoi was looking after Novotel Hotel and came into contact with case 73 when he went to Tanoa Hotel in Nadi to pick up people who were ready to be discharged on 12th April.

Case 73 was the first border quarantine soldier announced to have been infected by the virus on Sunday, April 18th.

Dr Fong says case 73 tested negative on the 12th and was only found positive on the 17th of April.

When questioned by fijivillage if the soldier from Makoi was one of the people contact traced when case 73 tested positive, Dr Fong says it would have been much easier to contact trace the Makoi soldier if he just had the careFiji app on.

He says they only found out about the Makoi soldier when they diagnosed his wife and linked him to case 73.

Dr Fong says the contact tracing is only as good as the travel history the ministry receives because the soldier did not have the careFiji app on.

He adds that is why they have been asking Fijians to download the app for a long time now.



We are trying to stop the movement of the virus, not to issue many passes for people to move from one zone to another – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Tuesday 27/04/2021

Now everyone’s focus is how do they get a pass and they forget the fact that we are trying to stop the movement of the virus.

This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong when questioned on the number of people and vehicles that are coming in and going out of the containment zone borders in Lami, Suva, and Nausori.

Doctor Fong says this is the problem when they are trying to make something mandatory but everyone says they need to write in the law.

Doctor Fong says yesterday he was asked to write a check box on what people and businesses need to do in order to get a pass.

He says if he does give a check box, people will try and find a loophole to try and tick the check box.

Doctor Fong says recently they talked about some industries they will have to close because they are non-essential, but because they are manufacturing some medical equipment they will be given a dispensation to move around.

Please take note that any person in a containment zone in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi, and Lautoka must not leave the containment zone they are in, with effect from 4am April 26th, 2021, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services.

This is clearly stated in the government gazette signed off by Doctor Fong.

Any person outside a containment zone must not enter another containment zone, with effect from 4am April 26th, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and any person in a containment zone may only travel within the containment zone for the purposes of employment, accessing a service provided by an essential business, or an emergency.

According to Doctor Fong’s announcement on Sunday, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunications, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services, and roading services.

Fijivillage stresses that you cannot just get a pass to cross the containment zone as it would defeat the purpose to have a containment zone to contain the virus if people are allowed to travel between one zone to the next.

According to the gazette, the Lami Containment Zone is from Wainadoi Police Post to Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge.

The Suva Containment Zone is from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge to Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi.

The Nausori Containment Zone is from Wainibuku Bridge nears Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Highway.

The Lautoka Containment Zone is from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

The Nadi Containment Zone is from the junction of Queens Road from Momi Bay to Lomolomo.

Doctor James Fong stresses that people should not move from one zone to the next unless the ministry gives approval after a risk assessment.



FNPF highlights conditions for one-off relief payment of $220

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Fiji National Provident Fund. [Image: File Photo]

Fiji National Provident Fund members living or working in any of the lockdown zones will only qualify for the one-off relief of $220, if they are not accessing any of the active COVID-19 relief and are not being paid during the lockdown period.

The relief is for members who will not receive wages as a result of their inability to access their workplace because of the lockdown restrictions.

This also includes employers who may have closed due to its high risk or non-essential services business nature such as barber shops, gyms, bars, etc.

Members who are currently receiving fortnightly relief payments for phase 2 round 5 or phase 3 round 4 do not qualify for this lockdown relief.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Viliame Vodonaivalu says those that do qualify, will require their employer to confirm that they are not being paid any wages during this fortnight.

He says the Fund is relying on the cooperation of employers to clearly identify members living or working in these containment zones and who would qualify for this relief.

Vodonaivalu says members and employers who will try and take advantage of this relief by colluding or attempt to submit forged documents will face the full brunt of the law.

FNPF says employers are requested to revert with their confirmed list of affected staff as soon as possible to enable their staff to apply on the mobile app and employers must also ensure that contributions for their staff are paid up to March 2021 or to at least have the contribution schedule form uploaded.

They say processing time is three working days and members must ensure they provide their correct payment mode details to avoid delays.

The lockdown relief will now close on 10th May 2021.



It is essential to restrict the unnecessary movement of children to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 - Akbar

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar.

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says it is essential to restrict the unnecessary movement of children, as a precautionary measure, to keep the young ones safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

She is urging all parents and guardians to closely supervise their children and keep them at home during the school holidays.

She says parents and guardians must always be aware of where their children are, at any given time as the safety of their children is in their hands.

The Minister says this is not a responsibility that is to be taken lightly – everyone must do their part to keep Fiji safe from this deadly virus and by limiting our movement, we are limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Graph

Akbar is also urging parents to strictly follow COVID-19 safety measures, especially those relating to maintaining good hygiene.

She says parents and guardians make sure they regularly wash their hands with soap and water and maintain social distancing at all times.

Akbar says the safety of children is always their foremost concern, and as parents and guardians, they play the most important part.



Fiji receives 4 more GeneXpert machines that can churn out test results in 45 minutes

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Fiji’s efforts to battle the spread of COVID-19 has received a major boost as we have received 4 more GeneXpert machines that can churn out test results in 45 minutes.

While receiving the machines, Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says this will increase the testing capacity for the ministry.

Dr Waqainabete says this machine is also capable of detecting the new variant of COVID we have in Fiji.

The Health Minister has also called on everyone to adhere to the COVID safe guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Fiji Centre for Disease Control already has 2 GeneXpert machines that can churn out test results in 45 minutes.

The donations were from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Pacific Community.

Fiji now has 42 active COVID-19 cases.

There are 24 locally transmitted cases and 18 border quarantine cases.

Graph



No national lockdown – Dr Fong

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they will not impose a national lockdown as they will need to have a balance for people to access essential services.

He says the conditions for the current lockdown is stricter than the one previously.

Dr Fong says if they impose the national lockdown without the balance, there will be more problems.

He says they want to stop the virus but people will need to have the services such as food, health and other essentials provided to them.

Graph



Please know the full range of symptoms of COVID-19 and go to the Health Ministry’s screening clinics near you for a check up

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/04/2021
File Photo

Please know the full range of symptoms of COVID-19 and go to the Health Ministry’s screening clinics near you for a check-up.

According to the Fijian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough and tiredness.

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhoea, or a skin rash.

Stay home and self-isolate even if you have minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover.

Call the ministry’s helpline on 158 for advice.

If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

fijivillage advises you to please ensure you wear a mask when you go out, practice physical distancing and download the careFiji app to beat the virus.

You only need data to download the app. Following that, you just need to keep the Bluetooth on to help the Health Ministry in COVID-19 contact tracing.

Stay with fijivillage for the latest updates.

Graph



Food and grog stalls closed at Centrepoint

Market vendors cannot bring family members at their stalls - Bari
By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Grog stalls at Centrepoint.

All food and grog stalls at Centrepoint at Laucala Beach near RB Patel Supermarket have been closed and only vegetable sellers have been allowed to operate with strict measures in place.

The CEO of the Nasinu Town Council, Anurashika Bari says they have allowed these people to sell vegetables as there is no nearby market.

She says the roadside vegetable sellers will be monitored to see they are complying with COVID-19 protocols.

Bari also confirms all juice and fruit sellers on Nokonoko Road have also been removed. She says some vegetable sellers have been relocated to the Laqere Market.

She adds they have also closed some DVD shops in Nasinu as they do not fall under essential services.

Bari also confirms that enforcement officers are now covering all streets in Nasinu and are giving details to people on mask-wearing and the importance of staying at home.

She says they have noticed children playing on the streets and they are calling on parents to keep children inside their compound.

Bari adds they have also instructed all market vendors in Nasinu and Nausori that they cannot bring their family members to the market and only one vendor will be allowed at a stall.

Nasinu town council staff in the public telling people about protocols: [images: Supplied]



Concerns raised on vehicles and people still moving in and out of the containment zone borders in Lami, Suva and Nausori

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Checkpoint at Makoi Bridge at 11:30am today.

Vehicles are still moving in and out of the containment zone borders at the Tamavua-i-Wai and Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi, and concerns are being raised on what type of assessment is being done to ensure no COVID carrier is going from one zone to the next.

We have noticed Police officers at the borders checking passes and allowing vehicles through.

fijivillage is trying to find out what type of passes these people have that is allowing them to go from one containment zone to the next.

Please take note that any person in a containment zone in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka must not leave the containment zone they are in, with effect from 4am April 26th 2021, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services.

Containment zone borders in Lami, Suva and Nausori at 11am today.

This is clearly stated in the government gazette signed off by Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Any person outside a containment zone must not enter another containment zone, with effect from 4am April 26th, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and any person in a containment zone may only travel within the containment zone for the purposes of employment, accessing a service provided by an essential business, or an emergency.

According to Doctor Fong’s announcement on Sunday, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunications, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services.

fijivillage stresses that you cannot just get a pass to cross the containment zone as it would defeat the purpose to have a containment zone to contain the virus if people are allowed to travel between one zone to the next.

According to the gazette, the Lami Containment Zone is from Wainadoi Police Post to Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge.

The Suva Containment Zone is from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge to Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi.

The Nausori Containment Zone is from Wainibuku Bridge nears Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Highway.

The Lautoka Containment Zone is from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

The Nadi Containment Zone is from the junction of Queens Road from Momi Bay to Lomolomo.

Doctor James Fong stresses that people should not move from one zone to the next unless the ministry gives approval after a risk assessment. People should focus on accessing services within their own containment zone.

We have sent questions to Doctor Fong on the movement of people and vehicles from one zone to the next.

Questions have also been sent to the Prime Minister.

We are also awaiting the containment border guidelines followed by Police based on the government gazette.

Doctor Fong has already stressed that the containment zones have been set up to ensure people do not move around as when the people move the virus moves.




Al-Hamd Smart Living donates face masks and prepares food packs for affected families in Nadi

By Naveel Krishant, Shanil Singh
Wednesday 28/04/2021
[image: Alhamd Smartliving]

Nadi based Al-Hamd Smart Living has donated 500 surgical masks to the Nawaka COVID Response Unit and are in the process of preparing 100 food packs for the affected people in the lockdown area.

Director Ashfaaq Khan says the packs are worth $30 each and will include basic items.

Khan says they will not be going out themselves as it is risky but will engage Nadi Police to distribute the packs.

viber-image-2021-04-28-13-05-51

He adds the face masks donated would help combat the virus and will protect the frontliners facing the deadly virus which has plagued the entire world.

Khan says the surgical masks were air-freighted into the country and he does not think it’s a time to make a profit.

He further says they regard themselves as members of the local community, and they firmly believe unity will help us win the battle against the pandemic.



Use satellite and mini markets within containment zones - Kumar

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar

People are encouraged to use satellite and mini markets within their containment zones so it reduces overcrowding in the main markets.

Residents living within the Suva Containment Zone can visit the Suva Market, Flagstaff Mini Market, Raiwaqa Mini Market, Nabua Mini Market, Kaukimoce Mini Market and Laqere Market as it will be operating as normal from today.

For people living in the Nasinu area, you can access the Makoi and Narere mini markets, as well as the Laqere Market.

People living in the Lami Containment Zone, the Lami Market and Delainavesi Mini Market will be open from today.

The Nausori Market will be open from today to cater for people living in the Nausori Containment Zone.

The closing hours for Nausori and Laqere Markets is at 5pm.

As for Lautoka City, the main Lautoka Market and the Tavakubu Satellite Market are open for business while Nadi residents can access both the Nadi and Namaka Markets.

Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar says they expect all citizens to adhere to the Government’s COVID-safe measures.

Kumar says all vendors are required to wear masks and keep the markets clean at all times and any vendors or person entering the markets should have downloaded the careFIJI app.

She says people should keep their Bluetooth on at all times for tracing of any local transmission of the virus.



Doctor Fong confirms that the Health Ministry has stopped Police passes being used at the containment zone borders

All requests are to be made to the PS Health
By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Wednesday 28/04/2021
People rushed to the Health Minitry HQ to get passes.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong has confirmed that the Health Ministry has stopped Police passes being used at the containment zone borders.

As all efforts are being made to ensure that the virus is contained, Doctor Fong has also confirmed to fijivillage that the only recognized pass if any to move from one zone to the next will be the one approved by the Permanent Secretary for Health.

He says the Police passes issued for access from one zone to the next from Monday to today will not be recognized. Please take note that any person in a containment zone in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka must not leave the containment zone they are in, with effect from 4am April 26th 2021, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services.

This is clearly stated in the government gazette signed off by the Permanent Secretary for Health.

Any person outside a containment zone must not enter another containment zone, with effect from 4am April 26th, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and any person in a containment zone may only travel within the containment zone for the purposes of employment, accessing a service provided by an essential business, or an emergency.

According to Doctor Fong’s announcement on Sunday, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunications, food, and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health, and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services.

Fijivillage stresses that you cannot just get a pass to cross the containment zone as it would defeat the purpose to have a containment zone to contain the virus if people are allowed to travel between one zone to the next.

According to the gazette, the Lami Containment Zone is from Wainadoi Police Post to Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge.

The Suva Containment Zone is from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge to Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi.

The Nausori Containment Zone is from Wainibuku Bridge nears Rups Nakasi to Logani Village in Tailevu on Kings Highway.

The Lautoka Containment Zone is from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.

The Nadi Containment Zone is from the junction of Queens Road from Momi Bay to Lomolomo.

Doctor James Fong stresses that people should not move from one zone to the next unless the ministry gives the approval after a risk assessment. People should focus on accessing services within their own containment zone.

Vehicles were still seen moving in and out of the containment zone borders at the Tamavua-i-Wai and Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi this morning, and concerns were raised on what type of assessment is being done to ensure no COVID carrier is going from one zone to the next.

We had noticed Police officers at the borders checking Police passes and allowing vehicles through.

Doctor Fong has directed that this be stopped and the gazette be followed to control the borders.

We are awaiting the containment border guidelines followed by Police based on the government gazette.

Doctor Fong has already stressed that the containment zones have been set up to ensure people do not move around as when the people move the virus moves.





2 new COVID-19 cases confirmed

1 case is in Ra and 1 who contracted the virus from the Makoi family
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

2 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed for Fiji – 1 is from Ra while another is a case that stayed at the Makoi family’s home.

This brings the total number of known COVID cases in Fiji to 111 since our first case was detected on March 19th 2020. 44 of these cases are currently active and isolated.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says after 685 laboratory tests and 20,201 in-person health screenings on Tuesday, they have the 2 new cases. Doctor Fong says 1 patient, the 110th in Fiji, is of some concern, and it will require additional investigation into his contacts to determine if he is definitively linked to other active cases.

He is a 53-year-old caretaker of the Ra Provincial Office, and he showed symptoms of COVID which included body aches.

The man visited the Nanukuloa Health Centre on 24th April.

Doctor Fong says the man has been moved securely to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital.

He thanked this man as he felt symptoms and reported them.

Doctor Fong says he is now getting the care he needs and he no longer poses a threat to anyone.

All of his family members have been quarantined at the Ra Special School with Police officers providing security at the facility.

The Fiji Police Force has also established Naiserelagi Village, Nanukuloa Village and Dokonavatu Settlement as containment zones in Ra.

50 primary and secondary contacts of the man in Ra were identified and screened for fever and symptoms.

All households in Nanukuloa Village, Naiserelagi Village and Dokonavatu Settlement have been informed to stay home until further notice.

Doctor Fong also says there are others out there who may have had contact with this man.

He says they need all Fijians living in the Rakiraki area to visit a screening clinic if they have COVID like symptoms. You can dial 158 for the Ministry of Health to come to your home to check on you. The second case is a 25 year old man who had stayed at the house of the woman from Makoi.

Doctor Fong says they established that he was a close contact through the contact tracing, and they tested him despite the fact that he had no symptoms.

He says this man stayed in Makoi from 12th to 19th of April and he went to Vunimono, Nausori where he was retrieved and swabbed.

The Permanent Secretary says they have 4 teams facilitating contact tracing based on his travel history.

He says the man has been securely transferred to an isolation unit in Colo-i-Suva.

His primary contacts are also quarantined in Colo-i-Suva.

Doctor Fong says effective contact tracing allowed them to catch this man’s infection early and stop further spread of the Makoi cluster.


The two latest clusters of cases indicate to us that the virus has spread to different areas of Viti Levu – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/04/2021

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says we remain in a period of nationwide containment but the two latest clusters of cases indicate to us that this virus has spread to localities in several different areas of Viti Levu.

Doctor Fong says these two weeks will define the next two months for Fiji, and we all need to behave like we have COVID, even if there are no known cases in our community or we are showing no symptoms of the virus.

Doctor Fong says he has to assume that we have exposure of COVID-19 all over Viti Levu and this is one of the reasons why they have decided to set up screening clinics all over Viti Levu.

He says we have to wear masks, stay at home, and turn on our careFIJI app as we will be saving lives.

Doctor Fong says with every new case, this crisis takes on a new, more personal meaning for more Fijians.

He says this is not only for family members, but for neighbours, and for entire communities.

Doctor Fong says you should not mix with anyone who does not share your home with you, no sports of any kind should be played, save for small funeral ceremonies, and no non-work gatherings of any size should take place.

He says businesses that are not on the list of essential services should close.

Doctor Fong says every Fijian should live by a personal mandate to wash their hands, wear their masks, download careFIJI and make sure it is turned on and keep their physical distance from others.



We will only give passes for funerals and medical emergencies - Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Police checking a pass

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong has stressed that they will only give passes to move in and out of a containment zone for emergency cases such as medical reasons or funerals.

A number of people lined up at the Ministry of Health Headquarters today to get passes to move in and out of a containment zone.

Dr Fong has made it clear that they have given enough time for people to move to their homes.

The Permanent Secretary says everyone has had ample time to return to where they reside and they do not expect public vehicles such as taxis and buses to cross containment area borders.

Dr Fong says a list of dialysis patients is also at the border with the police, however, they strongly encourage these patients to enter and stay within the lockdown for the next 14 days.

He adds the exchange of food and medicine supply can be facilitated at the border provided delivery arrangements are organized by the requesting party.



If you keep moving around, you are shifting the goal post for me – Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 28/04/2021

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says he wants people to understand that if they keep moving around and do not stay at home, they keep shifting the goal post for him.

He says if we keep shifting the goal post, the two weeks lockdown will extend to three weeks and can even extend to three months.



This is not a time for finger-pointing or blaming – Dr Fong

PM asks Dr Fong’s entire COVID statements be translated into the vernacular languages to ensure everyone get the message
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/04/2021
A quarantine guard. [image: File]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this is not a time for finger-pointing or blaming.

He says there’s a great deal of frustration among the public, and on social media, aimed at the quarantine guards that were at the epicenter of this latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Doctor Fong says the fact that quarantine guards, who were on the front lines of containing COVID for a full year, suffered a lapse that allowed the virus to escape into Viti Levu is evidence of how unforgiving this virus is of even the smallest lack of care or act of forgetfulness.

He says if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

Doctor Fong is asking people to please be vigilant and to be relentless in following the procedures the experts have laid out for staying safe.

He also says he was sent some photos yesterday from Serua Province of community leaders implementing lockdown measures to protect the families in the area.

Doctor Fong says no one mandated them to act.

He says they have done so for the simple reason that they care about protecting their communities.

Doctor Fong says the Prime Minister also wants to be sure this message reaches every Fijian who needs to hear it, so he has asked that Doctor Fong’s entire statement be translated into the vernacular languages.

He encourages leaders looking to inspire urgency within their communities to share the messages, and then do one better by seeing the health measures enacted at the community level.



The fastest way people in lockdown can start to earn a living again is to contain the virus - Fong

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 28/04/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the fastest way people who cannot earn a living because of the lockdown can start to earn a living again is to contain the virus and ensure that it does not spread anymore.

Dr.Fong says the best and most sustainable way of mitigating the problems that they have is for people to comply with the orders and keep still so that the lockdown period is as short as possible.

He says they have allowed shops in the zones to open and have also allowed supplies to be dropped at the border as long as somebody picks it up from the other side.

The Permanent Secretary says they want freight, fuel and food to move, but not human beings who should stay in their own containment areas.

He says he realises the difficulty that many people will face and this is not something that they are doing easily adding that he has already acknowledged in his mind that unless they sort out food supply, freight supply and essential supplies, there is a danger that he may not be able to sustain the containment.

Fong highlighted this while responding to a question on what the government is doing to provide alternative avenues of livelihood as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs also announced that Fijians cannot fish in their own fishing areas and the villages are to set up their lockdown areas.




Police monitor cross cuts after 2 men tried to pass the Suva border through the back blocks of Nakasi

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/04/2021
[image: Fiji Polilce]

Police are now monitoring the cross-cuts at the containment zone borders after fijivillage received confirmation that two men were trying to pass the Suva border into the Nausori containment zone earlier today.

We have been informed that the two men were trying to take a route through the back blocks of Nakasi.

Police say the people trying to cross the border were advised to go back to their respective places.

Please do not try to cross the containment zone borders as the risk of the spread of the virus is very high.



49,362 COVID-19 tests conducted so far

Over 5,000 tests done last week which is a record - Dr Sahukhan
By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 28/04/2021
Head of Health Protection, Dr Alisha Sahukhan.

A total of 49,362 COVID-19 laboratory tests have been conducted so far with a daily average of 839 tests over the last 7 days, and a weekly average of 3,485 tests over the last 2 weeks.

Head of Health Protection, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan says there was a record 5,169 tests done last week. 


She says testing has increased in line with the response to the recent local cases, with 685 tests conducted yesterday.


Dr Sahukhan says testing is expected to increase with today’s delivery of 4 new GeneXpert machines. 


She adds their overall test positivity is 0.2% and their 7-day average daily test positivity is 0.6%.



Thu 29th Apr


Three men to appear in court for failing to comply with orders under the Public Health Act

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021

Three men will appear in court today for failing to comply with orders under the Public Health Act.

A 40-year-old boat captain of Cunningham, a 38-year-old Chief Engineer of Nadera, and a 30-year-old Engineer of Nakelo were all arrested yesterday after being found intoxicated and making noise at Walu Bay in Suva.

Police say the three men were approached by a team from Totogo and warned to leave the premises and were also advised of the COVID-19 restrictions in place however they failed to adhere to the instructions given.

Members of the public are advised to adhere to the instructions given as all those who are found to have breached the instructions will be taken to task.



22 villagers from Namara have been charged with failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

22 people from Nakalawaca village in Tailevu have been charged with failing to comply with the COVID-19 restrictions in place after they were caught while carrying a body and entering into the greater Logani lockdown area by sea on Tuesday.

Police say the 11 men and 11 women from Namara were in three boats.

They have appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court. All have been charged with one count each of failing to comply with orders under the Public Health Act and will reappear on the 14th of next month.



We have always been conducting surge planning however no country has ever been able to say their plans were never breached – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Thursday 29/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary of Health Doctor James Fong says they have always been conducting surge planning which includes discussions with other countries to get extra resources that need to keep us in readiness however no country has ever been able to say their plans were never breached.

Doctor Fong highlighted this when questioned by fijivillage if arrangements have been made to get more ventilators.

We asked him if we are having discussions with any countries to acquire more ventilators.

He says they have been working on this even when we were COVID-19 contained.

But Dr Fong also makes it clear that no amount of planning will achieve readiness - not with COVID-19.



Dr Fong says he does not know how many people who are COVID-19 positive got their first jab of the vaccine

By Iva Danford
Thursday 29/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says he does not know how many people who are COVID-19 positive have got their first jab of the vaccine.

Dr Fong says their main issue is to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He says no one in Fiji has been fully vaccinated yet because they have not been given the second dose.

Dr Fong says there is no point in asking them whether people have been vaccinated or not as no one has been fully vaccinated.



Case 73 did not have the careFIJI app although everyone in the border quarantine facility was told to have the app and keep it on – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Thursday 29/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the soldier that was case 73 did not have the careFIJI app although everyone in the border quarantine facility was told to have the app and keep it on.

Doctor Fong says this soldier was part of the population of Fiji which did not follow that guideline and we have ended up where we are.

He says very few of the primary contacts of this soldier that the Health Ministry contacted have the careFIJI app.



Concerns raised about people from different households drinking grog

Many people without masks in some settlements
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
Serious concerns have been raised regarding those who are still ignorant of the protocols.

While more people are adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols, some people are raising serious concerns regarding those who are still ignorant of the protocols that can result in the whole country getting further affected.

fijivillage has been receiving calls today about the unnecessary movement of some people, people from different households or outside their bubble drinking grog and people walking around in settlements without masks.

After hearing the comments of the Housing Minister, Premila Kumar regarding people in some informal settlements not following the COVID measures, some nearby residents of Sakoca are saying they are seriously concerned as they do not see many people in masks and people from many houses drinking grog together.

premilla

Housing Minister, Premila Kumar: [image: file]

We have also received reports from Koronivia regarding certain locations including a dairy shop having grog sessions involving people from different households.

Kumar says the ministry is concerned that the residents in some informal settlements are socialising with their neighbours over grog or just a talanoa session.

She says it has been brought to their attention that children are also moving freely from one house to another in groups in the settlements.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says we remain in a period of nationwide containment but the two latest clusters of cases indicate to us that this virus has spread to localities in several different areas of Viti Levu.

Doctor Fong says these two weeks will define the next two months for Fiji, and we all need to behave like we have COVID, even if there are no known cases in our community or we are showing no symptoms of the virus.

ddddd

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong. [image: file]

Doctor Fong says he has to assume that we have exposure of COVID-19 all over Viti Levu and this is one of the reasons why they have decided to set up screening clinics all over Viti Levu.

He says you should not mix with anyone who does not share your home with you, no sports of any kind should be played, save for small funeral ceremonies, and no non-work gatherings of any size should take place.

Police say members of the public are to be responsible and their support is needed. They say the people also need to understand the seriousness of this pandemic.





Grog and liquor shops are not essential services and should not open during this containment period - Police

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021

Police have made it clear that grog and liquor shops are not essential services and cannot open during this containment period.

They confirm only liquor shops in supermarkets can open.

Concerned citizens have contacted us on why a grog shop in Samabula is open even at night. They are also concerned about the opening of black markets and liquor shops during this time.

Police say they will advise the grog shop owner not to open and also stress that all non essential businesses should remain closed for now.



Authorities are now identifying some schools that will be used as isolation facilities when the need arises

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 29/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The CEO of the Nausori and Nasinu Town Councils, Anurashika Bari confirms they are working closely with the Commissioner Central's Office in identifying and getting some schools ready that will be used as isolation facilities should there be a need.

These schools are in Nausori and Nasinu.

Bari says it is a joint effort and a team from the Ministry of Health and the RFMF is visiting these schools that have been identified as isolation areas and is also checking on preparedness of the facilities.

Bari says Shop N Save, Subrails Furniture and Nausori Chamber of Commerce have come forward and said they will be providing necessities as and when required.

She says some partners have also donated mattresses.



Ten locations of interest revealed by Health Ministry and people urged to contact them if they were at those venue on certain dates

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The Ministry of Health has revealed ten locations where people may have come into contact with COVID-19 cases and a request is being made to you if you were present at one of these locations on the dates and times listed, and have not been contacted, please remain in your home and call 158.

Health response teams have already identified people who may have come into close contact with COVID-19 cases however this message is for those who may have not been contacted.

The venues and dates are Burger King Nakasi on the evening of 13th April 2021, Nadera Catholic Church from 4pm to 6pm on 18th April, Bargain Box opposite Suva Bus Stand after 4.30pm on 19th April, BSP Thompson Street Branch, FNPF Ellery Street and Caines Jannif Renwick Road from 12pm to 2pm on 15th April, Navua Agriculture Office from 12pm to 1pm on 16th April, John Wesley School in Raiwaqa after 6pm on 17th April, FNU Nabua on 12th April, iTaukei Affairs Office Suva Headquarters at 10am on 24th April, Ra Provincial Office and Compound from 20th to 27th April and Manoca Kava Pounding Shop Nausori from 10.30am to 2pm on 24th April.

Please stay home if you were at one of the venues on those days and times. Call 158 immediately.



Fiji has 5 new COVID cases – 1 concerning case results in overnight screening

More stringent lockdown measures could start as soon as this evening
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 30/04/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong.

5 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Fiji while screening continued overnight after confirmation that a garment factory worker from Kalabu is one of the positive cases.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the first two cases are close household contacts of previously announced cases, and they have tested positive while secure in quarantine facilities.

One is the 25-year-old wife of the case who stayed in Vunimono, Nausori and the other is his 52-year-old aunt.

They are most concerned with the aunt from Vunimono, as she worked in a garment factory in Kalabu.

Doctor Fong says her place of work has been shut down since they announced the restrictions on Monday, and they are screening everyone she worked with while she may have been contagious.

He says they have contacted the management of the factory she worked in, and the factory next door, and these managers have agreed to work together with the ministry to ensure that their workers are urgently screened.

Doctor Fong says their plan last night was to have the teams go house-to-house and swab as many of them as possible, at least 80 percent if they can.

As that investigation progresses, Doctor Fong says the same principles as always apply - health restrictions may expand or become more stringent lockdown measures, and that could start as soon as this evening.

Doctor Fong says the third case is a former border quarantine passenger who arrived from Papua New Guinea into Nadi on Friday April 9th. He had three negative pre-departure tests before leaving PNG, and tested negative twice while in the Tanoa Hotel border quarantine, before being discharged on April 23rd.

The Permanent Secretary says he was reswabbed in Navua as part of the investigations into the quarantine breaches at the Tanoa facility, and has subsequently tested positive.

Doctor Fong says the man is now in quarantine.

He also confirms that he had contact with case number 95, the husband living in Makoi, on the day of his discharge from the Tanoa quarantine facility.

The ministry has identified 98 people who were discharged from the Tanoa border quarantine facility between April 12th and April 25th, 82 of these people have been contacted and told to home quarantine.

Repeat testing of these people is underway, and the remaining 16 are being contacted.

The fourth case is a 68-year-old man in Rakiraki. He tested positive after presenting to the Rakiraki Hospital Outpatients Department with a cough and fever.

They are yet to establish any direct link between this case and existing cases.

Investigations are ongoing while this man has been entered into quarantine.

Doctor Fong says they are quite sure there are others like him out there.

Anyone who is feeling unwell anywhere in Fiji should report immediately to a screening clinic.

The fifth case tested is a border quarantine case.

He is a 23-year-old man who travelled from Guyana to Fiji, arriving on April 22nd on NZ952 from Auckland.

He tested positive while undergoing mandatory 14-day quarantine at a border quarantine facility in Nadi.



Existing unknowns point to widespread transmission in the community – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they believe we may be in the early part of a very fast-rising upward curve in COVID-19 case numbers.

He says the case number 111, the man from the Makoi cluster that travelled to Vunimono, is of high concern because of his extensive travel history since April 14th, when he was first exposed.

Doctor Fong says that is over two weeks of moving around Viti Levu, so the contact tracing teams are in overdrive working to determine and contact everyone he may have encountered who they determine to be of risk.

He says they hope that the risk of transmission was lessened by the fact that the man, at no point over the past weeks, displayed COVID symptoms.

But he says the hope is not a strategy as the man was engaged in higher-risk activities like drinking grog and sharing cigarettes with friends and family, others very well may have been exposed to the virus. The 110th case, who is the man living in Rakiraki, still does not have a clearly established connection to their existing cases.

However, Doctor Fong says thanks to contact tracing, they have leads, but until they are confident enough to make an official confirmation, all Fijians should continue to behave as if they have been exposed to the virus.

Boundaries in Ra have been set, and the patient’s family are now in quarantine and have been swabbed for testing.

The ministry has also swabbed another 40 primary contacts of this man and screened 406 others in Ra. The results are pending.

Meanwhile, Doctor Fong says most Fijians are already taking this threat seriously.

But he says most of us is not enough.

Every Fijian must act responsibly, wash your hands often and stay at home.

He says we still have too much movement among the public.

Doctor Fong says if there’s one measure that matters more than any, it is that: Stay Home.

If you have an absolutely essential reason to leave the house, wear a mask at all times and turn on your careFIJI app everywhere you go. If you feel unwell, call 158 or visit your nearest screening clinic.



Dr Fong concerned about ‘lockdown party’ in Lami and stresses the need not to have gatherings

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong stresses that gatherings are not allowed for the simple reason that congregations of any size can become superspreader events.

He highlighted this after he saw some photos of a picnic happening in Lami on Wednesday, one of several high-risk areas in the country.

Doctor Fong says it was mostly young people who were having a bit of a “lockdown party”.

He says in one photo, he counted 19 people piled on top of one another, mostly young people.

Doctor Fong says if even one of them was carrying COVID-19, that could easily result in 18 more cases.

He says young people are generally thought to be at lower risk of severe COVID-19 but that does not matter.

The Permanent Secretary says they are not immune, as we have seen from other countries that once a large outbreak takes hold, everyone is affected.

Doctor Fong says young people can also end up being hospitalised and dying, and many of us also share homes with multiple generations.

He says we have children, parents, and grandparents all under one roof.

Doctor Fong says this is a fact: Something as simple as a picnic could get people killed.

He says that is why he is asking every mother and father in Fiji to please keep their children at home.

Meanwhile the Health Ministry has completed the first round of screening in Narere and Cunningham, and have screened over 95 percent of target population in Wainivula, Caubati, Tacirua and Makoi, with 144,747 people screened across Viti Levu and many more thousands to go.

Doctor James Fong says these screenings do work, especially at identifying high-risk contagious cases of COVID-19 but just because you have been screened does not mean you are clear to flaunt any of the restrictions.

Doctor Fong stresses that screening is different from testing, and it is far from as effective as a proper 14 days in quarantine.

He says that is why they will be screening high-risk areas multiple times, as someone screened once may well become a viral carrier days later.



In a full lockdown no one except essential service workers move around – Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Friday 30/04/2021

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says in a full lockdown no one except essential service workers move and it will be absolutely illegal for someone to stand on the side of the road or in a public space.

He says the only people moving around will be the screening teams and ambulances taking sick people.

Doctor Fong also stresses that in order for them to go into full lockdown they need to sort out things like food supply and the pre-positioning of essential items.



New protocols announced for funeral arrangements

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
[Image: Sky Production Fiji]

The Health Ministry says they have developed new protocols around funeral arrangements.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says when a death does occur, they will allow the body to be transported to its final resting place through containment area borders. However, they will only allow the vehicle with one driver to cross the border, and that driver must have careFIJI installed and turned on.

The driver will be escorted by Corrections Officers to ensure they remain in the vehicle the entire time they are within the containment area.

Doctor Fong says let’s not forget this outbreak started at a funeral.

He says when these events are held, they all have to be very disciplined about wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and ensuring no more than 20 people attend.



Fri 30th Apr


Truck drivers taking food, fuel and freight to another containment area cannot come outside their trucks and have to follow strict guidelines - Dr Fong

By Dhanjay Deo, Semi Turaga, Shanil Singh
Friday 30/04/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

Health Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong says if someone is moving from their source containment area to another area to deliver food, fuel and freight, they have to be from a low-risk area and these people will not be allowed to come out of their trucks.

When questioned on what measures are in place for those who are involved in bringing these items through trucks from one containment zone to another, Dr. Fong says truck drivers are not allowed to move out from their trucks and they also have to follow strict guidelines.

When further questioned whether the truck drivers will be told to isolate after returning from another containment area, Dr Fong says these people can continue working normally as they will not be allowed outside their trucks when they enter another containment area and these drivers also have to follow strict guidelines.

He says they have drafted standard operating procedures for the cartage of essential goods.

Within containment zones, the movement of food and essential items does not require approval.

He says drivers should, however, wear masks and regularly sanitise their hands.

They may carry one passenger to assist with deliveries.

This passenger should also wear a mask and maintain physical distance as much as possible while unloading goods.

Every single driver and passenger must have careFIJI downloaded, and it must be switched on for the entire time they are within a containment zone.

Dr. Fong further says between containment zones, it requires approval to transport food and essential items and requests for passes can be e-mailed to covidpassmoh@gmail.com.

Once approved, drivers must wear masks, regularly sanitise and keep a physical distance of two metres from others and careFIJI must be installed and on for their entire day of work.

While within the containment zone, the driver must not disembark the vehicle.

They should not even lower the windows. Loading and off-loading must be carried out by individuals at the delivery destination.



We must all be more vigilant about our health and the health of those around us – PM

Bainimarama visits Police Officers at containment zone borders in Suva
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 30/04/2021
[image: Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama made visits on the ground to Police Officers manning the containment zone borders in Suva yesterday.

Bainimarama says our Police are hard at work maintaining multiple containment zones throughout the country to slow the spread of COVID-19.

He says the Police, alongside our health officials, deserve more than our gratitude.

Bainimarama says we must help them keep us safe by adhering closely to their instructions.

The Prime Minister says every Fijian should be listening intently to the daily announcements by Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong, and follow the advice.

Bainimarama calls on everyone to act responsibly, wash your hands often, and stay at home.

He says if you have an essential reason to leave, wear a mask at all times.

And if you feel unwell, call 158 or visit your nearest screening clinic.

The Prime Minister stresses that our trust in the science has served us well before.

He says this time we face a new variant of the virus.

Bainimarama says it is more transmissible.

To succeed again, the Prime Minister says we must all be more vigilant about our health and the health of those around us.



In a full lockdown no one except essential service workers move around – Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Friday 30/04/2021

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says in a full lockdown no one except essential service workers move and it will be absolutely illegal for someone to stand on the side of the road or in a public space.

He says the only people moving around will be the screening teams and ambulances taking sick people.

Doctor Fong also stresses that in order for them to go into full lockdown they need to sort out things like food supply and the pre-positioning of essential items.



Villagers and others within a containment area are permitted to go out fishing for their livelihood

By Iva Danford
Friday 30/04/2021
[image: Mongabay]

Villagers and others within a containment area are permitted to go out fishing for their livelihood.

This has been clarified by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Fisheries.

They say subsistence fishing is permitted, which limits fishing for the purposes of securing food only.

All subsistence fishers must provide certain information like Captain’s name, Boat Master License Number and Vessel Details like Valid Survey Certification and Registration to the Maritime Surveillance Centre on the toll-free number 1539.

They will also need to adhere to the five maximum persons capacity and their fishing areas must be within the containment areas and a 3km distance from their landing sites.

The Ministry has also emphasised the need to adhere to all health and hygiene protocols, including installing the careFIJI mobile application and keeping the device Bluetooth on at all times, maintain 2-metre social distancing and regular hand washing and sanitisation.



House to house screening and swab testing is being done in crowded areas - Dr Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 30/04/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong says they are conducting house to house screenings and swab testing for all the residents in areas where houses are very close to each other.

He says everybody living in this kind of areas are swabbed after contact tracing.

Dr. Fong has revealed this after asked about the measures in place for informal settlements where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 being spread amongst residents.



We will review the way we operate to make sure we do things better - Naupoto

By Shanil Singh
Friday 30/04/2021
Army Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto. [image: RFMF/Youtube]

Army Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto says he understands that there is a lot of criticism coming their way and they will review the way they operate to ensure things are done better.

In a message to all RFMF personnel, Naupoto has reminded them that they are doing this job to save lives and they are putting lives at risk if they break COVID-19 protocols.

He says their job requires integrity and they should be doing things right even when no one is watching.

Rear Admiral Naupoto says it has been a long journey since last year and has thanked all those who are involved in the containment efforts.

He has reminded members of the RFMF that they should not let the criticism detract them from doing what is required at this time.

The RFMF Commander has also thanked the family members of the soldiers who are currently manning quarantine facilities, for their sacrifices.



Some people still moving around and not wearing masks today

By Semi Turaga
Friday 30/04/2021

While majority of the people are taking the COVID-19 measures seriously, some people around Suva and Nasinu are still moving around and not doing their part by staying home.

It is concerning that many of those we saw walking around this morning were boys who moved together as a group.

In Suva, we saw three boys walking around and one of them was not wearing a mask.

We saw a group of boys walking around along Fletcher Road.

None of them were wearing a mask.

Three men were also walking along Laqere Bridge.

They are not wearing masks and were not practicing social distancing.

We also saw some people still wearing masks the wrong way as they are not covering their nose.

Outside MHCC, people practiced social distancing.

We witnessed people attending a funeral in Vatuwaqa practicing social distancing and wearing masks.



219 FNPF members have so far been paid under the lockdown relief

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 30/04/2021
Acting CEO, Viliame Vodonaivalu. [Image: File Photo]

FNPF has so far paid out $48,180 to 219 members as part of the lockdown relief and $35,765 was members own funds while $12,414 was topped up by Government.

Acting CEO, Viliame Vodonaivalu says their teams continue to process applications for working members who have applied for the lockdown relief and so far they have received a total of 8,163 members’ names from 366 employers.

Vodonaivalu says 518 members have submitted their applications however applications continue to trickle in.

He says they continue to face challenges with this relief – particularly, the timely submission of members’ names by employers.

Vodonaivalu further says this is a key part of the application process because they need employers to confirm that if their staff have had their wages impacted - either reduced or not paid at all during this lockdown period.

He stresses that they will not open up the preserved account, especially for those who have exhausted their general account balance.

The FNPF CEO says they will continue to explore ways, to assist our members but within the ambit of the FNPF Act.

Members can contact FNPF on 3307811, email information@fnpf.com.fj or reach out to the Fund on social media.



Taxi, mini bus and hire vehicle drivers can access FNPF funds for one off payment

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 30/04/2021
[Image: File Photo]

The Fiji National Provident Fund has announced today an additional relief for its members as it reopens the Phase 4 withdrawal scheme which will include drivers for taxis, mini buses, hire vehicles and Small and Medium Enterprises members operating small businesses.

FNPF says from next Wednesday these members will be able to apply for a one-off payment of $220 from their General Account - no government top up will be applicable.

Acting Chief Executive Officer Viliame Vodonaivalu assured members that the Fund continues to take a member-centric focus in efforts to accommodate all segments of membership.

He says the additional relief will hopefully alleviate some burdens for their members in this lockdown period.

Under the criteria for Phase 4 Round 2 relief members must have at least one contribution paid between January 2010 and September 2019, have a minimum of $85 in their General Account, the amount that can be accessed is $50-$220 depending on the member’s general account balance.

FNPF adds there are no requirements for Phase 4 Round 2 therefore no forms are available and members wishing to access this relief must apply on the myFNPF App.

Members will also not qualify if they are already accessing Phase 2 Round 5, Phase 3 Round 4, the Voluntary relief or the lockdown relief for working members.



Divisional Commissioners are now identifying and setting up community isolation facilities - Seruiratu

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 30/04/2021
Minister for Defence and National Security, Inia Seruiratu.

Minister for Defence and National Security, Inia Seruiratu says the four Divisional Commissioners have commenced work to identify and set up community isolation facilities in all divisions.

They are currently looking at setting up 10 community isolation facilities in the Central Division which will mainly be boarding schools in Serua, Tailevu and Naitasiri.

Seruiratu says all Divisional Commissioners are now working with the 14 provincial councils, Roko and advisory councillors in creating awareness about COVID-19 protocols and the setting up of community isolation facilities.

He says the four Divisional Commissioners are well ahead in their planning stage and will be ready with the isolation facilities should there be a need.

He says they are also grateful to the businesses that are coming forward with assistance.

Seruiratu says Vinod Patel and Company Limited has today donated washing machines that will be used in community isolation facilities in Lautoka.

The authorities are also ensuring that community isolation facilities have power and water supply and they are fenced.



Gavoka visits police officers with refreshments

By Semi Turaga
Friday 30/04/2021
SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka rovided them with some light refreshments.

SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka today visited police officers and frontline workers at the three checkpoints at Delainavesi, Sawani and Nakasi.

He says they are simply visiting these checkpoints to thank officers and other frontline workers for the tremendous work they are doing for the nation.

Gavoka says they provided them with some light refreshments.

He is urging Fijians to continue following strict COVID-19 safety guidelines and cooperate with authorities.



Suva and Nausori containment zones under curfew till 4am Monday

Dr Fong announces 1 new COVID case
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Suva and Nausori containment zones from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge in Delainavesi to Logani Village is under curfew until 4am Monday.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they cannot waste another minute locating the rest of the contacts of those who have already tested positive for COVID-19.

Doctor Fong says to allow his teams to find these Fijians quickly, the Health Ministry will lock down the Suva and Nausori Containment zones until 4am Monday.

He says rather than operate two separate containment zones, the Suva and Nausori containment areas will be consolidated into the Suva-Nausori Lockdown Zone.

The borders of the lockdown zone mirror that of the two containment areas as the police will operate checkpoints at Logani Village, Sawani and Tamavua-i-wai Bridge and the checkpoint at the 8 miles bridge near Rups Mega Nakasi will be uplifted.

To those living in Suva and Nausori, Doctor Fong says they have all been through this before and they know what it means.

Doctor Fong says no one should leave their homes.

He stresses that no one, not parents, not breadwinners, not children, no one should leave their homes.

The Permanent Secretary says the Police will be enforcing that movement restriction.

Without the Health Ministry’s approval you can only move out from your home for medical emergencies, this exemption will include kidney dialysis patients.

For the duration of this lockdown, no businesses, including supermarkets, banks and pharmacies are allowed to be open.

Some essential services like water, power, ports, and private hospitals, will be allowed to operate with authorisation granted by the Health Ministry, and they will work directly with essential service providers on those arrangements.

Deliveries across the lockdown zone borders will also go on hold as there will not be any markets or supermarkets open, so these delivery services do not need to operate through the weekend.

Doctor Fong says they have determined that at this stage, a snap lockdown has become a medical necessity for the Suva-Nausori corridor.

But they recognise that the nature of these restrictions is going to make accessing basic services extremely difficult over the next 48 hours if not impossible.

Doctor Fong says they have ordered food packs that will be delivered throughout the lockdown area for Fijians who run out of food.

If you live in the lockdown area and need to access this emergency food supply, you can call the toll-free number 161 from 9am today.

The food packs will be free.

He says please be patient, your calls will be answered. To keep things efficient, please make sure you have details, like your name, location and number of family members, readily available.

Doctor Fong says deliveries will be scheduled throughout the course of the weekend.

He says on Sunday, they are going to look carefully at what the contact tracing and testing tells them, and make a medical determination on whether the lockdown should end or extend.

For the rest of Fiji, essential businesses, such as supermarkets are open, essential movement is allowed, and the normal curfew hours from 11pm to 4am apply.

But the Health Ministry is urging everyone to please stay home.

Doctor Fong says every time you leave, you risk bringing this killer virus home with you but if you absolutely do have to leave, wear a mask and make sure you have the careFIJI installed and turned on at all times.

He says if more Fijians had downloaded the careFIJI app from the start, we wouldn’t be in this position today.

Doctor Fong also stresses that if they see gatherings or large numbers of people moving about elsewhere in Fiji, they won’t hesitate to extend these lockdown measures to other parts of the country.


Fiji has 1 new COVID-19 cases, intense screening & testing expected

Dr Fong says one of the Tanoa quarantine cases may be the source of the outbreak in Ra
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 30/04/2021

Fiji has 1 new COVID-19 case following the screening of another 16,613 Fijians and another 1018 tests yesterday.

The new case is the wife of case number 110, the first man in Ra who tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

Permanent Secretary for health, Doctor James Fong says they have another case in Ra, case number 116, which they announced yesterday.

Doctor Fong says this makes for a total of three cases in Ra, forming two clusters.

He says they still do not know where either of these clusters originated.

They are continuing to investigate any possible links with existing cases.

Doctor Fong says they have also sent samples of the positive test results of Fiji’s most recent cases to the reference lab in Melbourne to see if there is a genetic link between these latest cases.

He also says they are also investigating the possibility that these cases originated from the earlier-announced quarantine facility breach.

The Permanent Secretary says the incubation period for the virus is 14 days.

That means, from the moment a person comes into contact with someone with the virus and gets infected, it can take up to 14 days for the virus to cause symptoms or register a positive COVID-19 test result.

Only after the ministry effectively quarantines an individual for 14 days, and then they register a negative COVID-19 test result, do they know that they do not have COVID-19.

But that assurance comes from the fact that the ministry is certain that the individual had zero exposure to the virus for every single day of that two-week quarantine period.

Doctor Fong says if they came into contact with someone with the virus during that 14 day period, the incubation period resets to another 14 days.

He says at the Tanoa Hotel, due to the breaches at that border quarantine facility, there could have been infectious staff who transmitted the virus to individuals during their 14-day quarantine period. That means, when they tested them at the end of their quarantine, they could have missed a soon-to-be-positive patient.

In the case of those discharged from Tanoa from the 12th of April onwards, that’s exactly what they are concerned may have happened.

One of those individuals, case number 114 has already proved that concern is valid.

Doctor Fong says they have contacted 93 out of the 96 individuals discharged from the Tanoa Hotel Quarantine Facility from 12th April 2021 and onwards. These individuals are being tested and will restart their 14 day quarantine.

He says one of these cases may be the source of the outbreak in Ra.

Doctor Fong says they simply won’t know for sure until these restarted periods of quarantine are complete.

In the meantime, they have no choice but to treat the first two cases in Ra as instances of community transmission, which are cases that have no known link to other cases or international travel.



We have found everyone who attended the Tavakubu funeral and Nadera Church service- Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong.

Everyone who attended funeral in Tavakubu, Lautoka and the church service in Nadera have been found.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says during the next 14 days, they will be screening the Tavakubu area at least four times.

Doctor Fong says this is because majority of the people who attended the funeral were from that area.

He says based on the numbers the ministry is getting, they are confident about the cleanliness of the area.



51,014 COVID-19 tests to date - Dr Sahukhan

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 01/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan.

The Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says 51,014 COVID-19 tests have been conducted to date with a daily average of 774 tests per day over the last 7 days.

She says there has been a weekly average of 3,485 COVID-19 tests per week over the last two weeks.

Doctor Sahukhan revealed that a record of 5,169 tests were done last week.

She says testing has increased in response to the recent cases.



Source of transmission for first two COVID-19 cases in Ra still under investigation

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 01/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan

The Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says two cases of COVID-19 are still under investigation to determine their source of transmission.

She says for now they are being considered as community transmission cases.

These are the first two cases in Ra which includes the 53-year-old caretaker of the Ra Provincial Office who started feeling symptoms and reported them.

The second case in Ra was the 68-year-old man who tested positive after presenting to the Rakiraki Hospital Outpatients Department with a cough and fever.

There are 50 active cases in isolation.

Doctor Sahukhan says five of the cases are older border quarantine cases that were announced before Sunday while 14 are recently announced border quarantine cases.

She says there are 29 locally transmitted cases.

Fiji has had 117 cases of COVID-19 since March 19th 2020.

There have been 65 recoveries and two deaths recorded in Fiji from COVID-19.



We had a lack of data yesterday morning to decide on the lockdown - Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong says he had said on Thursday that there was a good chance a lockdown could be announced.

When questioned why people were informed so late about the lockdown in the Suva Nausori containment zones, Dr. Fong says they collected data on Thursday night to decide whether a lockdown was necessary.

He says there was a lot of missing information regarding contact details of people and the teams ran around Thursday night looking for information.

He says they had a lack of data yesterday morning.

He says they did want to take an action without having necessary data.



More than 500 employees of a garment factory to be tested during the 48hr curfew period

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

More than 500 employees of the garment factory will need to be reached by the Ministry of Health officials during the curfew period from 8 tonight to 4am Monday.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they know the details of the people that will need to be screened and swabbed and they have enough people to find these individuals.

He says a team of three people from the Ministry will be conducting this and they will be starting from the end of the lockdown area.

He adds they knew the lockdown will be useful as they know the specific places they need to go and find these individuals.

The Permanent Secretary says 877 employees in total are employed where the woman from Vunimono worked and 321 employees have been identified, screened, and swabbed.



Sat 1st May


Toll-free numbers 161 and 158 are back up and in operation

By Iva Danford
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Governement]

The Health Ministry has confirmed that the toll-free numbers 161 and 158 are back up and in operation.

They had faced a technical glitch with these numbers earlier today, as a result of the high number of phone calls received.

People are advised that if your calls are not going through it's because a lot of people are calling at the same time.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong had announced last night that people who are living within the Suva-Nausori corridor can call 161 if they run out of food during the curfew period which will be free.

Doctor Fong has stressed that people need to be patient, as their calls will be answered.

LegendFM News received calls from people who have been trying these numbers from 9am today.

Some people have told us that when they were calling, there was no answer or their calls did not go through.

The Ministry of Health says they regret any inconvenience caused however they appreciate people’s understanding and patience.

Vodafone Fiji has told us that if people cannot get through while dialing these numbers, that means that there is an influx of calls at the same time.

They say it has nothing to do with their network as it is working perfectly.

We are still trying to contact Digicel and Telecom regarding this issue.



Zero tolerance on any breach of restrictions – Tudravu

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 01/05/2021
Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says there will be zero tolerance on any breach of restrictions announced by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong.

Tudravu says his officers have been briefed to enforce movement restrictions to ensure health officials are given as much support to conduct their work.

Tudravu adds this period is crucial for us as a nation to determine how far the virus has spread.

He further says the message is simple, stay home. The Suva and Nausori containment zones from Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge in Delainavesi to Logani Village is under curfew until 4am Monday.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they cannot waste another minute locating the rest of the contacts of those who have already tested positive for COVID-19.



Some non-essential businesses open in places like Ba

Acting Police Commissioner concerned that people cannot just follow the COVID-19 safety instructions
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
Ba Town. [Image: Supplied]

Businesses like hardware shops and bottle shops are open in Ba Town.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong had highlighted last night that apart from the Suva and Nausori containment zones, for the rest of Fiji, essential businesses, such as supermarkets are open, essential movement is allowed, and the normal curfew hours from 11pm to 4am apply.

But the Health Ministry is urging everyone to please stay home.

Doctor Fong says every time you leave, you risk bringing this killer virus home with you but if you absolutely do have to leave, wear a mask and make sure you have the careFIJI installed and turned on at all times.

He says if more Fijians had downloaded the careFIJI app from the start, we wouldn’t be in this position today.

Doctor Fong also stresses that if they see gatherings or large numbers of people moving about elsewhere in Fiji, they won’t hesitate to extend these lockdown measures to other parts of the country.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu is concerned and says members of the public and the business community should follow the clear COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines.

Tudravu says people do not have to rely on the Police to come and enforce the restrictions.

He says the Police believe that people's IQ level is far above being chased around all the time.

Tudravu is currently moving around checkpoints in Suva and Nausori areas visiting the Police Officers and thanking them for their commitment.




44 people arrested for breaching curfew orders and COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

44 people have been arrested in the last 24-hours for failing to comply with curfew orders as well as breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says 18 were arrested for failing to comply with curfew orders while 26 were arrested for breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Tudravu says the Southern Division recorded 23 cases whereby 22 people were not complying with the COVID-19 restrictions while a 26-year-old man of Samabula was found drunk in the Namadi Heights area within curfew hours.

He says 8 people were arrested in the Eastern Division for failing to comply with curfew orders while the Northern Division recorded 5 cases whereby all were found drunk in Labasa and Taveuni.

The Western Division recorded 4 cases whereby 4 farmers were found drunk in Sigatoka Town and breached the COVID 19 restrictions.

He says for the Central Division, four men including a naval officer were found loitering at the Suva Handicraft Centre during curfew hours.

Tudravu says he is pleading with people to respect the Health restrictions in place and be reminded not to make any unnecessary movement as those found to have breached the COVID-19 restrictions and curfew orders will be taken to task.



7 locations of interest revealed by Health Ministry in Navua/Pac Harbour where people may have come into contact with a COVID-19 case

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 01/05/2021
Please stay home if you were at one of the venues on those days and times. Call 158 immediately.

The Ministry of Health has revealed seven locations in Navua and Pacific Harbour where people may have come into contact with COVID-19 cases.

A request is being made to you if you were present at one of these locations on the dates and times listed, and have not been contacted, please remain in your home and call 158.

The venues and dates are Max Value, Vinod Patel Hardware Store and Jacks in Navua on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th April between 11am to 12pm, Hot Bread Kitchen in Navua on 27th April between 11am to 12pm, at Grace Road Service Station in Nakaulevu on 27th April between 12pm to 2pm, at Kundan Singh Pacific Harbour on 27th April between 12pm to 2pm and at Rajeev Service Station on 27th April between 12pm to 2pm.

Please stay home if you were at one of the venues on those days and times. Call 158 immediately.


Ten locations of interest revealed by Health Ministry and people urged to contact them if they were at those venue on certain dates

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 29/04/2021
[Image: file photo]

The Ministry of Health has revealed ten locations where people may have come into contact with COVID-19 cases and a request is being made to you if you were present at one of these locations on the dates and times listed, and have not been contacted, please remain in your home and call 158.

Health response teams have already identified people who may have come into close contact with COVID-19 cases however this message is for those who may have not been contacted.

The venues and dates are Burger King Nakasi on the evening of 13th April 2021, Nadera Catholic Church from 4pm to 6pm on 18th April, Bargain Box opposite Suva Bus Stand after 4.30pm on 19th April, BSP Thompson Street Branch, FNPF Ellery Street and Caines Jannif Renwick Road from 12pm to 2pm on 15th April, Navua Agriculture Office from 12pm to 1pm on 16th April, John Wesley School in Raiwaqa after 6pm on 17th April, FNU Nabua on 12th April, iTaukei Affairs Office Suva Headquarters at 10am on 24th April, Ra Provincial Office and Compound from 20th to 27th April and Manoca Kava Pounding Shop Nausori from 10.30am to 2pm on 24th April.

Please stay home if you were at one of the venues on those days and times. Call 158 immediately.




Non-essential businesses are still open in Navua

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Saturday 01/05/2021
Navua Town.

Non-essential businesses are still open in Navua despite clear directives from the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong that only essential businesses like supermarkets should be open across the country apart from the Suva-Nausori containment zones.

We have received numerous concerns from some of the residents who just wanted to shop for food in the supermarket that almost all the shops were open with people crowding up in town.

They have said that people have come out with family members to do their shopping which was very risky, despite several warnings that Navua is also an area of interest of contact tracing.

Some of the non-essential businesses that were open were hardware shops, clothes and footwear shops.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu is concerned and says members of the public and the business community should follow the clear COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines.

Tudravu says people do not have to rely on the Police to come and enforce the restrictions.

He says the Police believe that people's IQ level is far above being chased around all the time.

Tudravu is currently moving around checkpoints in Suva and Nausori areas visiting the Police Officers and thanking them for their commitment.



PM and AG visit Fiji Procurement Office yard where food rations are being loaded

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Government]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum today visited the Fiji Procurement Office yard where food rations are currently being loaded.

The food rations are for the Suva-Nausori lockdown zone.

If you live in the lockdown area and need to access this emergency food supply, you can call the toll-free number 161.

They also visited the Fiji Centre for Disease Control today.



Police strictly monitor people's movements in the Suva-Nausori lockdown area

44 people arrested for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and curfew hours
By Naveel Krishant, Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: file photo]

Police have been strictly monitoring the movement of people in the Suva – Nausori corridor which is under lockdown and curfew until 4am Monday.

Police arrested 44 people last night for breaching COVID-19 restrictions and curfew hours around the country.

Fijivillage has observed officers manning the check-points at the Suva-Nausori corridor borders strictly checking passes.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu is currently moving around checkpoints in Suva and Nausori areas visiting the Police Officers and thanking them for their commitment.

Tudravu says there will be zero tolerance on any breach of restrictions announced by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong.

He is also concerned and says members of the public and the business community should follow the clear COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines.

Tudravu says people do not have to rely on the Police to come and enforce the restrictions.

He says the Police believe that people's IQ level is far above being chased around all the time.

During the duration of the Suva-Nausori lockdown, no businesses, including supermarkets, banks and pharmacies are allowed to be open.

For the rest of Fiji, essential businesses, such as supermarkets are open, essential movement is allowed, and the normal curfew hours from 11pm to 4am apply.

Dr.Fong has already highlighted that if they see gatherings or large numbers of people moving about elsewhere in Fiji, they won’t hesitate to extend these lockdown measures to other parts of the country.



Email account set-up for food ration packs

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Government/Facebook]

An email account has been set up for people who require food ration packs within the Suva- Nausori corridor.

The email address is covid19rations@gmail.com

The government says they are dealing with a large call volume and if calls do not get answered, Fijians are alternatively requested to email their details and the request must include the following details: your name, address, Suva-Nausori Lockdown Zone, mobile number and number of household members.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has urged only those genuinely requiring rations to call in.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there has been a huge number of calls with a lot of people waiting in the queue and has asked them to be patient as their calls will be answered and their details will be taken down.

He says sometimes they find that there are people who are from the same family-four or five people calling from the same family living under the same roof, make four or five different phone calls.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds obviously, that’s not correct, that’s not right.

He says they are depriving and taking up the time on the line of people that genuinely need to get through

Sayed-Khaiyum assures any genuine person who makes a request will be catered for.



5-yr-old and 15-yr-old daughters of the Cunningham woman test positive for COVID-19

Suva Nausori lockdown decision to be reviewed this evening after test results of the contacts of the garment factory worker
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong. [Image: Fijian Government]

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.


Current commitments for the COVID-19 vaccine doses for the country can cover 484,000 Fijians – Dr Fong

We need to cover 650,000 people
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
AstraZeneca vaccine. [image: BBC]

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.



100,000 calls received for food ration packs requests upto midday with several members of the same household calling – Dr Fong

PS Health says help is on the way
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
You can send your name, address, the number of people in your household, and your mobile number to covid19rations@gmail.com.[Image: Fijian Government/Facebook]

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 covid19rations@gmail.com



More stringent measures maybe taken for the Ra Containment Area in the near future – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

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.



Please call 1560 or 1325 if you are facing domestic violence during this lockdown – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

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.



We owe a lot to the military for doing the heavy lifting - Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 01/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

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.



Officials managed to screen and swab 95% of the group that they wanted to get despite the heavy rain – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Saturday 01/05/2021
[Image: file photo]

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.



We have most of the travel history of the man who had travelled extensively within the community in Nadi and Lautoka – Dr.Fong

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 02/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

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.



Sun 2nd May


There may be a need to have a massive food ration drive for those in all containment areas – Kiran

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 02/05/2021
The Commissioner Western's Office yesterday morning received food rations from the Founder and Director of Friends Fiji, Ms Sashi Kiran.[Image: Fijian Government]

FRIEND Fiji founder and CEO, Sashi Kiran says there may be a need to organize a massive food ration drive for those people that are in all containment areas and particularly for those in the informal sector.

Kiran says they also call on the Social Welfare Department to look into the social protection of the vulnerable people urgently.

She says they have been working with the Commissioner Western's Office to provide food to people in self-quarantine or isolation.

Kiran adds while COVID-19 is a major worry right now with the super spreader event, they have another major crisis evolving relating to food.

She has once again called on people to show compassion to those who have contracted the virus and stop vilifying them.

Kiran also says this will enable people to be more confident in coming forward with information.

FRIEND Fiji has been assisting thousands of families affected by COVID-19 and the recent cyclones with food and other basic items in the Western Division and other parts of Fiji.

If you want to assist FRIEND Fiji, you can contact them on 8983183 or friend@connect.com.fj.

You can also check out our Hands Across Fiji section on our website fijivillage where we connect people who need help to those who are providing help.



39 people arrested for breaching curfew orders and COVID-19 restrictions

By Shanil Singh
Sunday 02/05/2021
Police checkpoint at Nadera.

39 people were arrested for breaching curfew orders and failing to comply with the Health restrictions in the last 24 hours.

The Western Division recorded 20 cases where 17 people were arrested for failing to comply with the health restrictions while three cases were recorded for breaching curfew.

Police say 15 people were arrested for breaching curfew orders in the Southern Division.

The Eastern Division recorded three cases including 2 people who were arrested for not complying with health restrictions.

One person was arrested for breaching curfew in the Northern Division.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says there will be zero tolerance on any breach of restrictions announced by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong.

He is also concerned and says members of the public and the business community should follow the clear COVID-19 safety protocols and guidelines.

Tudravu says people do not have to rely on the Police to come and enforce the restrictions.

He says the Police believe that people's IQ level is far above being chased around all the time.



RFMF and Police deliver food rations in the Suva-Nausori corridor

By Sheenal Charan
Sunday 02/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Governement/RFMF]

The Fiji Police Force has delivered 30 food ration packs to the residents of Cunningham today.

The RFMF has also been delivering food ration packs to Fijians living in the Suva - Nausori lockdown zones.

If you are living within Suva-Nausori corridor and are in need of ration, then you can send your name, address, the number of people in your household, and your mobile number to covid19rations@gmail.com

You can also call or text those details to 161 or use this form http://bit.ly/fjrationform to send your details.



Dr Fong says they will let the public know by midnight if the lockdown will extend

If that does not happen, the lockdown will expire 4am tomorrow
By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 02/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the ministry’s progress in contact tracing, screening and testing puts them on track for the Suva and Nausori lockdown measures to expire at 4am tomorrow however he says they will let the public know by midnight if the lockdown will be extended.

He says things will change if they are unable to find all or most of the missing five percent of contacts of the garment factory worker, or the testing reveals new and high-risk cases.

Doctor Fong says they will be loud and clear with the public if that happens but they are confident, at this stage, that they can identify the remaining contacts in Suva and Nausori and lift the lockdown on schedule.

He says they will let people know by midnight tonight if something changes.

Stay with Legend FM and fijivillage if there are any announcements tonight.

Doctor Fong says assuming they stay the course, the Suva-Nausori Lockdown Zone will revert into two separate containment areas, the Suva Containment Area and the Nausori Containment Area, from 4am tomorrow.

The borders of the areas are unchanged which means the border checkpoint at Wainibuku Bridge near Rups Nakasi will be back.

The Permanent Secretary says the lifting of that lockdown measure will mean that, within these containment areas, movement, for essential purposes only, may resume.

The system of cross-border deliveries of food and essential items into the containment areas will also resume, and supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and other essential businesses, as identified by the ministry, may operate from tomorrow.

However Doctor Fong says this is not cause for celebration.

He says it is certainly not an excuse to disregard any of the measures that will remain in place.

Doctor Fong says at its close, the curfew will have lasted 56 hours, meanwhile, the incubation period for the virus is 336 hours or two full weeks.

That means there is still a very serious risk that new cases may develop, so we must act accordingly.

Do not go outside of your home to meet with friends and family. Do not have parties.

He stresses that reckless celebrations of the end of the lockdown will give them no choice but to recommend another one so please make smart choices, and spare the nation from that drastic course of action.

Curfew hours will be from 11pm until 4 am, everyone should stay home unless they have an essential reason to leave, you should not mix with anyone who doesn’t share your home with you, no sports of any kind should be played, places of worship will remain closed, save for small funeral ceremonies, no non-work gatherings of any size should take place, anywhere you go outside of your home, you should have on a mask or face covering, wash your hands well and often, use sanitiser when you see it, businesses that are not on the list of essential services should not open, you should not share takis, bilos or cigarettes, any person-to-person interaction - even a maskless conversation -- can put you at-risk, and please download careFIJI, and keep your bluetooth switched on when you are in public spaces.

Doctor Fong also stresses that if they see serious threats to public wellbeing, such mass crowding, or people outside, in large numbers, without masks being properly worn, they will recommend that a hard lockdown come back into effect.


95% of the contacts of the garment factory worker screened and tested, 611 tested negative so far – Dr Fong

No new cases but a lull can often signal a surge
By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 02/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Government]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says 95 percent of the 877 contacts of the garment factory worker have been contacted, screened, and swabbed, including all of her closest contacts who shared her bus and worked in close proximity to her at the factory in Kalabu.

He says they will all remain under home quarantine for at least 14 days from their last contact with the case.

611 have tested negative for COVID-19 so far with more samples being tested.

Doctor Fong says with everyone safely at home during the Suva Nausori lockdown, the Health Ministry contact tracing teams worked through the torrential rain this weekend to identify the contacts of case 113, the garment factory worker.

He also says after another 1,212 tests and 7560 community screenings, they have no new cases of COVID-19 to report in Fiji.

Doctor Fong says he knows many may have cheered, or felt excited, when he said but no confirmed cases, at this stage, is no reason for celebration.

He says it does not mean there are no cases out there; it means none have been detected over the past 24 hours.

The Permanent Secretary says they are certain there are more cases that will develop or worryingly that an unconfirmed case of the virus has already developed into a highly-contagious disease.

He says their biggest fear right now is that someone, with symptoms, has not reported to a screening clinic or called 158.

Doctor Fong also says this virus arrives in waves.

He says a lull can often signal a surge so let’s not let one day of no new cases fool anyone into thinking this storm is over.



2 COVID-19 clusters in Ra are still unlinked to other existing cases

Call has been made to those that played in the Malamala 7s in Sigatoka on April 16th and 17th to call 158
By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 02/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The two COVID-19 clusters in Ra are still unlinked to other existing cases while a call has also been made to those that played in the Malomalo 7s in Sigatoka on April 16th and 17th to call 158 as one of the Makoi cases had played in that tournament.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says Suva and Nausori are not the only source points of their contact tracing efforts.

He says for Ra, they are pursuing two main leads - one is that the cases are related directly to the quarantine facility breach in Nadi or two, that these cases may be rippling out from an individual in Ra who attended the funeral in Tavakubu.

If you are this person, or you know this person, please contact the Health Ministry on 158.

Doctor Fong says they are also awaiting the results from Melbourne to confirm a genetic link to other local cases in Fiji.

He hopes that guides their investigation to a link with another chain of transmission.

But he says we need widespread adoption of the COVID-safe health habits, not only for a weekend, a week, or even a month - these measures must be kept by everyone, everywhere for the foreseeable future.

Doctor Fong also says one of the source points stems from case number 91, the patient who resides in Makoi.

Her brother-in-law, who was case number 98, played rugby in a team that competed in the Malomalo 7s at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka on April 16th and 17th.

Working with the coaches at the tournament, the ministry has contacted most of those he may have had contact with however, there are still some missing pieces.

Doctor Fong says they are asking any of the rugby players who played in the Malomalo 7s, who are yet to be contacted by the ministry, to please call 158.

He also cautions everyone not to be too quick to ask why we have more stringent measures in Fiji than in other countries.

The Permanent Secretary says the simple reason is that all countries are at different stages in fighting this pandemic, and each country has to adopt measures based on its own situation.

He says in the United States, for example, more than 100 million adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That is 40% of the adult population.

Doctor Fong says we are not at that point in our immunizations here in Fiji, and we won’t be for some time.

He says with any variant of the virus, that is a recipe for deadly disaster, and it can happen here if we become complacent, or worse, cynical, about these very important prevention measures.



Conditions at isolation facilities may not be ideal in the early phase of containment - Dr. Fong

Baby fell from bed at isolation facility in Navua however was not adversely impacted
By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 02/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

The Health Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong says conditions of isolation facilities may not be ideal in the early phase of containment as the disease is not predictable.

He has made this comment after confirming that they have received some complaints from people at isolation facilities.

Dr Fong says there were two incidents and one involved a baby who rolled off the bed at the isolation facility in Navua.

He says this happened when officials were trying to get a baby cot.

He says the baby was not adversely impacted because of what had happened.

Dr Fong also confirms the baby was brought to Suva but it was because of the symptoms of COVID-19 and not because of the fall.

Dr Fong says there was a complaint regarding the conditions at the isolation facility in Rakiraki.

He says this is being managed.

Dr Fong says they need to get more containment facilities upgraded quickly for use to ensure it is in a more ideal setup prior to a person going in.

He says this is a lesson they have learnt from Rakiraki.



Health Ministry to create more isolation facilities in the community

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 02/05/2021
Lautoka Hospital.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they will continue to create more capacity to get more isolation facilities in the community.

He says they still have room capacity at the Lautoka Hospital and they have created reserve capacity in the Ba Hospital for the purpose of taking extra isolation cases.

Doctor Fong adds they have space at the Navua Hospital but do not want to add more patients so they have opened the isolation facility in Colo-i-Suva.

The Permanent Secretary says he also knows that they have opened up Adi Cakobau School to be an isolation facility.

He stresses that all their isolation facilities are manned by the appropriate staff.

Doctor Fong says they discussed this morning and will discuss again tomorrow morning further plans about creating their surge capacity.

He adds they plan to stay 50 beds ahead of the last patient.



We will have to look into the non-essential businesses that were open and finalise an action plan – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Sunday 02/05/2021
We have also received reports that some of the non-essential businesses that were open were in Navua and Ba were hardware shops, clothes and footwear shops.

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says they will have to look into the non-essential businesses that were open and finalise an action plan looking forward.

Doctor Fong highlighted this when questioned by fijivillage on what is being done to deal with this issue as clear directives were given that only essential businesses like supermarkets should be open across the country apart from the Suva-Nausori containment zones.

We have also received reports that some of the non-essential businesses that were open were in Navua and Ba were hardware shops, clothes and footwear shops.

Dr Fong says he was just notified this morning of this issue and they will be looking into this together with the police and military.




We will distribute food rations all of tonight - Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 02/05/2021
[Image: RFMF]

The Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says he knows they will be distribute food rations all of tonight to people that have called 161 but whether they can meet everybody's need is another problem.

He says they still have people from the same household calling the number and that is wasting a lot of time for them.

Doctor Fong adds they are making three deliveries to one household because of this and later have to make other plans when they find out the family has already been assisted.

He is stressing that in order for us to be able to prepare for future lockdowns, we need people to be honest about their requests.



More CCTV cameras will now be installed at the border quarantine facilities - Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 02/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong.

More CCTV cameras will now be installed at the border quarantine facilities to keep a watch on the contact taking place between the passengers and those manning the facilities.

While confirming this, Health Ministry's Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong says they will now have more surveillance at the border quarantine area to ensure they can reduce the number of blindspots.

When asked whether any determination was made if the new variant came through the couple from India or their luggage, Dr. Fong says they have gone back and looked at the handling of luggage when freight comes off the plane.

Dr Fong says the virus can be transmitted through luggage and from direct contact through persons.

He adds Fiji Airports Limited has a stringent program of managing and disinfecting luggage and they are confident of that program.



Reason for the food ration in the Suva-Nausori lockdown area was because basic food items would have been inaccessible - Dr Fong

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 02/05/2021
Police delivering rations. Photo: Fiji Police Force

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong says the reason they did the food ration distribution in the Suva-Nausori lockdown area was because supermarkets were closed and basic food items would have been inaccessible.

Dr.Fong says it was not a poverty alleviation program but a lockdown program.

He also says there is a potential to explore providing food ration packs in other containment zones.

Dr.Fong says the solution for that will extend outside the Health Ministry as it will involve other ministries who will be in a better position to answer the question.

Dr.Fong adds providing food rations in other containment zones requires a broader set of strategies that are not within the ambit of the Health Ministry.


Mon 3rd May


No social distancing outside some supermarkets today

Police make announcements in Valelevu for people to social distance
By Semi Turaga
Monday 03/05/2021
Fijivillage saw both the young and old not practicing social distancing.

People are not practicing social distancing outside two supermarkets in Valelevu and one in Suva while social distancing is being strictly enforced outside Max Value in Flagstaff, Extra Supermarket, and Max Value opposite the Suva Market.

There is also social distancing outside MHCC.

We visited these supermarkets this morning.

Fijivillage saw both the young and old not practicing social distancing.

Police officers are present outside these supermarkets and asking people to maintain a 2 metres distance.

The situation in the Valelevu supermarket was the most concerning.

Many of those lining up were elderly people who received their monthly social welfare benefits today.

The line of people stretched for about 100 metres.

Police had to show up and make announcements for people to social distance.



Cruel to parade food distribution – NFP

Food distribution in the Suva – Nausori lockdown areas was not a poverty alleviation program but a lockdown program – Dr Fong
By Naveel Krishant
Monday 03/05/2021
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad and Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong.

The National Federation Party says it is cruel for the Government to be parading its food distribution efforts on facebook when people in real need, all over the country, have no food in the house however the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong made it clear last night that the reason they did the food ration distribution in the Suva-Nausori lockdown area was that supermarkets were closed and basic food items would have been inaccessible.

Dr.Fong says it was not a poverty alleviation program but a lockdown program.

NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says some people in the West have been without the means to buy food for months and they are completely dependent on their neighbors and the community.

Prasad claims yet the government will give excess food rations to people in Suva, even to those he claims who do not need them.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fong said in the press conference last night that there is a potential to explore providing food ration packs in other containment zones.

Dr.Fong says the solution for that will extend outside the Health Ministry as it will involve other ministries who will be in a better position to answer the question.



LTA urges people to stay within containment zones

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 03/05/2021
LTA CEO, Samuel Simpson.

The Land Transport Authority of Fiji has urged drivers, as well as others, to remain in their specified containment zones as per advice from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in order to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The containment zones namely, Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka have been in effect since 4am, Monday, 26th April 2021 and will remain in effect unless advised otherwise by the Ministry of Health.

LTA CEO, Samuel Simpson says the idea behind these containment zones is to act as a precautionary measure to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading to other parts of Fiji.

He says to his knowledge, each containment zone has suppliers of essential items such as food, medication and money.

Simpson has also reminded Fijians to ensure that they are practising proper COVID-19 safety measures such as wearing a mask, washing or sanitising their hands as often as possible, and maintaining a proper social distance while travelling on public transport.

Meanwhile buses and minibuses are to only operate at 50 percent capacity, and taxis are to have a maximum of 3 passengers in their vehicles, at any given time in order to abide by proper social distancing rules.



Police officers assist staff and security of New World IGA in enforcing social distancing

By Iva Danford, Semi Turaga
Monday 03/05/2021
New World IGA in Suva.

Officers from the Totogo Police Station were called in to assist the staff and security officers of New World IGA in Suva in enforcing social distancing outside the supermarket.

New World IGA Operations Manager Maria Kumar says they were informing people to maintain social distancing outside as they were very strict about this inside the supermarket.

Kumar says there is a police officer who is based there to enforce this.

She says they had faced the same problem in their supermarket in Valelevu, but it has been maintained now with the help of their security personnel.

Kumar says they had maintained social distancing inside the supermarket and were only allowing 40 to 45 people at a time.

Carpenters Fiji Limited Director and General Manager, Kunaseelan Sabaratnam says apart from recordings and sanitation exercise being carried out, customers would need to do their part of social distancing.

He says the issue has been the lockdown from the 1st of this month and that is the busy time for the Food Voucher Programme recipients.

Sabaratnam says these recipients have all come out at one time.

Today, people were not practicing social distancing outside two supermarkets in Valelevu and one in Suva while social distancing is being strictly enforced outside Max Value and Extra Supermaket in Flagstaff and Max Value opposite the Suva Market.

We visited these supermarkets this morning.

Legend FM News saw both the young and old not practicing social distancing.

Police officers are present outside these supermarkets and asking people to maintain a 2 metre distance.

The situation in the Valelevu supermarket was the most concerning.

Many of those lining up were elderly people who received their monthly social welfare benefit today.

The line of people stretched for about 100 metres.



2 doctors from Lautoka Hospital test positive for COVID-19

We are considering opening schools on 24th May but that will depend on the COVID situation at the time - Dr Fong
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 03/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Two doctors who work at the Lautoka hospital are the latest cases of COVID-19 in Fiji which means we have 51 active cases.

Another 1,736 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says a 25-year-old female doctor, presented at a screening clinic with COVID-like symptoms.

She then tested positive for the virus.

The second, a 30-year-old male doctor, was tested as part of contact tracing for the first doctor.

Doctor Fong says both doctors have been entered into isolation and their close household contacts have been quarantined.

He says they are early into their investigation, but at this stage the two cases do not appear to have any links to existing cases or events of interest, such as the Tavakubu funeral.

Doctor Fong says while they did work at the Lautoka Hospital, they did not work in the isolation ward where they would have had interaction with COVID-positive patients.

He says we must treat these cases as instances of community transmission until it is proven otherwise.

The Permanent Secretary says all contacts within Lautoka Hospital will be screened, tested, and isolated as appropriate.

He says this is a massive and complex undertaking for the hospital team, and they are providing the support they need.

This includes sending in medical teams from other medical facilities to replace staff who have been identified as close contacts of these cases and stood down to be isolated.

Doctor Fong says they have one advantage as both doctors installed the careFIJI app and had it running.

He says while the contact tracing teams are conducting their work on the ground, a digital net is being cast far and wide for Fijians who may have had contact with these two doctors.

The Permanent Secretary says careFIJI has identified one contact already, and Lautoka is safer for it.

He says while these two doctors responsibly had the app running, they know the effectiveness of the app’s contact tracing function depends on how many other people also had it running on their phones.

Doctor Fong says if you do not yet have the app installed, do it right now, and make sure it is running everytime you leave the house. It will not use data, it will not chew battery but it will save lives.


Reopening of schools to depend on COVID situation

We hope the current situation ends soon but the data is telling us a different story – Dr Fong
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
[Image: File Photo]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says in consultation with the Ministry of Education, they are considering re-opening the schools on 24th May 2021 but that judgement depends entirely on Fiji’s COVID situation at that time.

Doctor Fong says he wants parents and students to know that getting our children back in classrooms is an urgent priority for the Ministry.

He says until such time, parents must keep their children at home.

The Permanent Secretary stresses to parents not to bring their children for shopping and not to send them out with friends. He stresses that the children should stay at home.

Doctor Fong also says as they shift into the next phase of containment, they are prioritising non-school isolation facilities so that, once it’s safe, they are ready to resume classes.

He says there is a proven benefit to in-person learning, and every day we delay our student’s return to classes risks long-term harm to our human capital.

Doctor Fong says we contained last year’s outbreak of COVID-19 in 30 days.

It has been 15 days since the confirmation of the case that sparked the outbreak we face today, and he is worried that too many of us think this containment effort will play out on a relatively similar timeline.

He says he very much doubts that it will.

The Permanent Secretary says it could end soon and he hopes it does but the data is telling us a different story.

Doctor Fong says we are not up against an identical enemy this time around, the chains of transmission are more widespread and the variant is more transmissible.

He says the risks are greater, and our response must be more decisive.

He further reveals that his teams are ready for a containment strategy that lasts months, at a minimum.

Every Fijian must be ready as well and good habits such as mask-wearing, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, proper handwashing, physical distancing, keeping careFIJI on, and limiting movement are not temporary or emergency measures.

He says they will be with us for the foreseeable future as the war against the virus is far from won.

Doctor Fong says they have to test many, many more Fijians in order to get a grip on the spread and stop it.

He says the case numbers may seem low next to the hundreds of thousands being recorded around the world every day but they won’t stay low if we do not act responsibly.



791 of the 877 contacts of the garment factory worker in Kalabu test negative in their first test

That could change at any point throughout the 14-day quarantine
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 03/05/2021
[Image: Fijian Government/Facebook]

791 of the 877 contacts of the garment factory worker in Kalabu have tested negative in their first test however that could change at any point throughout the 14-day incubation window for the virus.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they have narrowed down the number of work contacts of case 113 from 877 to 771.

They have tested all of these contacts plus some secondary contacts with all 791 testing negative.

Doctor Fong says they continue to investigate whether there are other contacts that need to be screened and tested. These contacts are all under a home quarantine order that will last two weeks from their last contact with case 113.

He says because they have acted quickly to contain these staff, if any do develop the virus, it will be securely detected while they are in quarantine.

Doctor Fong also says there is one reason, above all, as to how they successfully located all of these Fijians. It was because the more than 300,000 people living in Suva and Nausori did their jobs last weekend by staying home.

He also says he had spoken to the Police, and they made only a handful of arrests. Otherwise the streets were clear.



Six large containment areas to remain throughout Fiji for now

Call made for Lion Heart 7s players who took part in the Malomalo 7s to contact 158
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 03/05/2021
Police checkpoint at Tamavua-i-Wai bridge.

There are currently six large containment areas throughout the country - Suva, Nausori, Lami, Rakiraki, Nadi and Lautoka, and the Health Ministry is not considering rolling back the measures for any of these zones until they have a clearer idea of the risk posed to the public.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the borders of each containment area are highly restricted and movement within the areas should be limited.

He says the virus may be laying in wait within any of these containment areas, time is the only strategy that will expose those cases.

Doctor Fong also reveals that their contact tracing is progressing well elsewhere, with one exception.

They have one team from the Malomalo 7s held on April 16th to 17th at Lawaqa Park Sigatoka that they have not fully accounted for.

He is calling on members of the Lion Heart 7s team that shared a hostel and played with case number 98 to please call 158 right now. It is vital they locate all of their players and any other persons who closely interacted or travelled with the team.

Doctor Fong says after a full 14-days of quarantine since their exposure, the three from Moturiki have all returned four consecutive negative test results for COVID-19.

The lockdown of the island has been lifted however, as is the case with all the rural and maritime communities, they encourage families on Moturiki to stay where they are, stay at home, and limit their movement as much as possible. Doctor Fong also says now that the markets are open, we need shop owners and customers to avoid turning them into dangerous hotspots for further transmission.

Please ensure that physical distancing is practised, everyone is wearing a mask, and that everyone has the careFIJI app installed and turned on.



51 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

By Semi Turaga
Monday 03/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan.

Fiji has 51 active cases of COVID-19 in isolation.

16 of the cases are border quarantine cases and 31 are locally transmitted cases.

The Health Ministry’s Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says four cases are under investigation to determine the source of transmission.

She says in total Fiji has had 121 cases of COVID-19, 68 recoveries and two deaths since the first case was recorded on March 19th 2020.

Doctor Sahukhan adds that 54,988 COVID-19 tests have been conducted since they started testing early last year.

She says the daily average is at 978 tests per day over the last 7 days and the weekly average is now at 5,995 tests per week over the last two weeks.

Doctor Sahukhan revealed that a record 1,736 tests were conducted yesterday alone.

She says testing numbers from the labs at CWM and Lautoka Hospitals have not been received so the number will actually be higher.



Couple who returned to Fiji from India and had tested positive for COVID-19 still in isolation – Dr Sahukhan

She says we are fighting the virus, not the people
By Iva Danford
Monday 03/05/2021
Health Ministry's Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan.

The couple who returned to Fiji from India on 10th April and had tested positive for COVID-19 are still in isolation.

This has been confirmed by Health Ministry's Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan who says that so far the only people that have been released are the three recovered cases but the couple is still not discharged.

The soldier who was case 73 had contracted the virus from this couple.

Doctor Sahukhan says they will not be revealing any other information about the recovered patients as the last thing they want is for the communities to wait for them and victimise them even further.

She stressed that we are fighting the virus and not the people.



218,400 people covered through mobile screenings – Dr Tudravu

By Semi Turaga
Monday 03/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu.

The Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says their mass targetted screening is continuing in the restricted zones and the cumulative total that have been covered in this clinic is 218,400 people.

He says the coverage range of the communities is from 70 to 100%.

Doctor Tudravu says they acknowledge the support of the communities who have come forth and helped their teams.

He adds they have people coming with food, water, raincoats and umbrellas.

Doctor Tudravu adds there are 55 active stationary screening clinics throughout the country.

He says in the last 24 hours, they screened 410 individuals and swabbed 100 individuals.

Doctor Tudravu revealed 27,800 have gone through their stationary clinic.

He says the last few cases were diagnosed in these clinics.

Doctor Tudravu also says that mobile widespread community screening continues.

He says in the last 24 hours, they covered 2,240 individuals and swabbed 334 individuals.

The screening program continues.



The lockdown food assistance program was run by the Ministry of Economy and was govt funded – Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Monday 03/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the food assistance provided in the Suva-Nausori lockdown zone over the weekend was run by the Ministry of Economy and was government-funded.

Dr Fong says they only assisted in the program.

He says the exact details of the deliveries that were made as well as plans for any future distribution will be provided by the Ministry of Economy tomorrow.

Dr Fong also says the ministry did not have enough time to prepare for a lockdown and they will need to have a discussion with other ministries to be better prepared if the need for another lockdown arises.

The Permanent Secretary says if they had enough time, they would have recruited a broader group of people including the NGOs to work with them.

He adds they have learnt some lessons after this.

Dr Fong has one again stressed that they ran this program for those in the lockdown area because people could not access supermarkets or shops and adds the assistance is no longer in place.



Tue 4rd May


Negative comments will not deter sign language interpreters from doing their job

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Sign language interpreter Claudette Wilson and Loraini Tabu

No amount of negative comments on social media will stop Claudette Wilson and Loraini Tabu from doing their duty and providing critical information from the COVID-19 press conferences to the members of the deaf community.

Wilson and Tabu have become familiar faces next to the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong when he makes daily critical announcements in relation to the current COVID situation in Fiji.

Unfortunately, these two women who are heroes for what they are doing, have been attacked and ridiculed by some on social media for their expressions which are critical for members of the deaf community.

In an interview with fijivillage, Wilson says they have received so many negative comments however they are also grateful to those people that are providing them with positive comments and encouraging them.

She also says if Dr.Fong has a stern face it has to show on her face as well because the deaf community have to get the same message.

Tabu says the only thing that matters for her is the feedback that comes from the deaf community because she is providing them the message.


The two women have been working with the deaf community for more than 15 years.

Please send them uplifting and positive comments for their great service, and denounce those uncalled-for negative comments.





RBF says the recent COVID situation will further prolong the already subdued economic activity in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
The Reserve Bank of Fiji .[image: file]

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says while progress has been made on the vaccination front considering that over 50,000 Fijians have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the recent locally transmitted cases and subsequent containment measures will further prolong the already subdued economic activity.

The RBF says sectoral performances remained mixed up to March.

Visitor arrivals are down by 97%, electricity declined annually by 13.4% and mahogany production by 27% annually, the latter of which was due to a halt in production earlier in the year.

However, the pine industry noted a boost in production for pine logs by 151.8%, woodchip by 92.7% and sawn timber by 21.6% on the back of increased demand.

Gold production also picked up over the year by 17.5% owing to better-quality ore grade mined.

The RBF says over the month, improvements were noted in all sectors.


VAT collections drop by 27.8% however strong growth was noted in second-hand vehicle registrations by 122.2%

Job ads drop over the year by 75.8 percent in March
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says investment and consumption activity remained weak in the first three months of the year, indicating subdued confidence amidst continued economic uncertainty.

However strong growth was noted in second-hand vehicle registrations by 122.2%, driven in part by the budgetary changes around vehicle imports.

Consumption indicators in the country declined over the year as reflected by the drop in net VAT collections by 27.8%, new consumer credit by 24.1%, new vehicle sales by 17.8% and registration by 17.2%.

Partial investment indicators such as domestic cement sales dropped by 8.4% and new investment lending by 25.8% also declined annually.

Job advertisements declined over the year by 75.8% in March, driven by reduced recruitment intentions across most major sectors.

This was corroborated by the annual fall in net compulsory Fiji National Provident Fund membership by 64% over the same period.

Meanwhile, assistance from the Government and the FNPF via the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme continues.

In April, the FNPF support was extended to provide relief for mortgage payments and members affected by the recent lockdown measures.

Excess liquidity in the banking system surged past the $1 billion mark in March and is currently more than adequate at $1.451 billion.





VAT collections drop by 27.8% however strong growth was noted in second-hand vehicle registrations by 122.2%

Job ads drop over the year by 75.8 percent in March
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says investment and consumption activity remained weak in the first three months of the year, indicating subdued confidence amidst continued economic uncertainty.

However strong growth was noted in second-hand vehicle registrations by 122.2%, driven in part by the budgetary changes around vehicle imports.

Consumption indicators in the country declined over the year as reflected by the drop in net VAT collections by 27.8%, new consumer credit by 24.1%, new vehicle sales by 17.8% and registration by 17.2%.

Partial investment indicators such as domestic cement sales dropped by 8.4% and new investment lending by 25.8% also declined annually.

Job advertisements declined over the year by 75.8% in March, driven by reduced recruitment intentions across most major sectors.

This was corroborated by the annual fall in net compulsory Fiji National Provident Fund membership by 64% over the same period.

Meanwhile, assistance from the Government and the FNPF via the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme continues.

In April, the FNPF support was extended to provide relief for mortgage payments and members affected by the recent lockdown measures.

Excess liquidity in the banking system surged past the $1 billion mark in March and is currently more than adequate at $1.451 billion.



People caught drinking alcohol at Suva Point

Police arrest two men after they swam across a creek from Omkar in Narere to Nakasi
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Image: Fiji Police

Three people were arrested while drinking alcohol at Suva Point while a 25-year-old taxi driver and a 32-year-old man are arrested after swimming across a creek from Omkar in Narere to Nakasi.

Three men in their 20’s from different households were found drinking kava in Ra.

Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu says alcohol and drinking kava continues to be linked to breach of health restrictions and curfew orders as six of the eight cases recorded over the last 24 hours were found drunk.

Tudravu says members of the public are advised to refrain from social gatherings and unnecessary movement as Police will arrest those that breach the condition.



People still spotted without masks in Suva

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Maskless men in Suva City.

Many people could still be spotted walking around Suva without masks this morning.

We saw both the young and old walking with masks in their hands at the Suva Bus Stand.

They only put on their masks when they were about to enter the bus.

A number of people were wearing their masks like mouthguards in the CBD area in Suva.

While there are people not following the guidelines, majority of the people we saw this morning are wearing masks the right way and practicing social distancing in Suva.



200 families in home quarantine around Lautoka receive food assistance from FRIEND Fiji

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 04/05/2021
[image: FRIEND/Facebook]

200 families who are in home quarantine in Lautoka have received food assistance from FRIEND Fiji.

The Commissioner Western's Office received these food rations from the Founder and CEO of FRIEND, Sashi Kiran and has distributed it to 44 communities in Lautoka.

Kiran says those families who have no food at all and have no other means of income can contact 8983183 if they live in Lautoka and 8983181 if they live in Nadi to get this assistance.

She says they also have google forms available on their facebook page.

Kiran says as people are filling this form, their people are organizing, calling and assessing the families for the food to be dropped off.

Kiran says some families in quarantine in Lautoka and Nadi have been isolated for more than two weeks now without any food assistance.

She adds this includes about 21 families who live in a squatter settlement in an urban area and they have nothing.

If you want to assist FRIEND Fiji, you can contact them on 8983183 or friend@connect.com.fj.




Non-essential businesses outside of the current containment areas can now operate – Dr Fong

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

Non-essential businesses outside of the current containment areas in Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka areas can now operate.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong confirms they made this decision late yesterday because their contact tracing response seems so refined.

Doctor Fong says he had received a lot of requests from these businesses but could only make the decision after they had another look at their screening and containment program.

 



LTA suspends Defensive Driving Course for now due to COVID-19

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Image: File

The Land Transport Authority has confirmed that the Defensive Driving Course is suspended for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The course is a mandatory requirement before drivers with provisional licenses are given their full license.

This comes as a driver in Nadi raised concerns that he was turned away from the Nadi office when he had gone to his exam.

LTA says the course is a very important part of their safe driving curriculum and due to its nature of requiring candidates to be physically present in a class, classes have been suspended to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures.

They say candidates will be notified on when they will be able to reschedule the course and those who need to sit for it will be given first priority once the course resumes.



Less people at supermarkets today

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 04/05/2021

Social distancing is now being strictly enforced at the same Valelevu supermarkets which failed to strictly enforce the COVID-safe guidelines yesterday.

We have also noticed that the number of people in supermarkets this morning is significantly smaller compared to yesterday.

Fijivillage visited four supermarkets in Nasinu and four in Suva today.

Please wear a mask, social distance and install the careFIJI app on your phone and turn it on if you are making an essential run to the supermarket.




Association of Banks donates $20,000 to the Health Ministry

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Association of Banks President Rakesh Ram

The Association of Banks in Fiji has donated $20,000 to the Ministry of Health in contact tracing efforts and containment of the coronavirus.

President Rakesh Ram says they commend Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong for his continuing effort, good work and dedication to lead the team in protecting all Fijians from the deadly virus.

He further says they appreciate the efforts of all front-line staff putting themselves at risk and fully supports the Ministry of Health in its attempt to bring life back to normalcy for the people of Fiji.

Ram adds they encourage all Fijians to stay safe and get back to basics: stay home, practice social distancing, always wash your hands and wear a mask.



7 COVID-19 patients have recovered

98 contacts for the 2 Lautoka Hospital doctors who have tested positive for COVID-19
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong

98 contacts of the two Lautoka Hospital doctors who had tested positive for COVID-19, have been identified, and many of these contacts are their colleagues who work at the same hospital, including doctors and nurses.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the two doctors worked closely together, so the Health Ministry is quite sure one passed the virus to the other.

But he says individually, they both came into contact with many others.

He says as per protocol, these Fijians must be entered into two weeks of quarantine.

Doctor Fong says this has seriously affected their staffing capacity, particularly for medical and surgical services.

He says they have re-deployed staff from other facilities to cover these gaps, but it will be a very demanding two weeks of shifts for the staff at the Lautoka Hospital.

The Permanent Secretary says they are confident they can manage.

Some of the other contacts of the two doctors are patients.

Doctor Fong says given that they were seeking treatment for other ailments, they have identified these individuals as particularly high-risk.

All have been identified, swabbed, and entered into quarantine.

He says neither doctor has been directly linked to other existing cases of COVID-19 but their investigation is still in its early phase, and they are not ruling anything out.

Doctor Fong says they are also testing all the staff of the COVID-19 isolation ward.

He says so far, they have identified 20 close contacts through the careFIJI app that the two doctors had running on their mobile phones.

The app provided that information in a matter of minutes after the doctors uploaded their careFIJI information. Doctor Fong has again encouraged people to download the app and ensure that the phone’s Bluetooth is turned on to make the ministry’s contact tracing as effective and efficient as possible

He also credited the digitalFIJI team for this app’s development as the widespread adoption of careFIJI simply takes the contact tracing team’s work to another level of their effectiveness and efficiency.

Meanwhile the screening and testing continues.

Doctor Fong says 7 COVID-19 patients have recovered while 44 patients remains active.

No new COVID-19 cases were announced but Doctor Fong says everyone should continue to follow the COVID safety measures and more cases are likely to be in the country.



Lautoka may remain a containment area for some time longer – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
A police checkpoint at the main crossing to Lautoka City from Natalau. Photo: Supplied

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says Lautoka may remain a containment area for some time longer after the confirmation of the two Lautoka Hospital doctors getting COVID-19.

Doctor Fong says Lautoka has existed as a containment area now for 16 days and today is day 9 after the recent reset.

He says he knows life in Lautoka is nowhere near normal.

The Permanent Secretary says so far, the contact tracing stemming from these cases is progressing well, and they will make an epidemiological assessment of the cases to determine whether the containment area protocols should continue, and if so for how long.

He says they cannot make that determination at this stage.



Please trust that the isolation facilities are equipped to offer the best possible care – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Navua Hospital

If we do happen to contract COVID, we don’t play by a different set of rules.

Those are the words of Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong who says the health officials go into the same isolation wards as everyone else, the same wards that their colleagues are responsible for managing.

He says when it comes to these facilities, please trust they care deeply about seeing them run well.

Doctor Fong says they know it could be them, someone they love, or any of the fellow citizens, all of whom they are sworn to care for, who are in those facilities.

He also says that given that they are in the business of saving lives, please trust that these facilities are equipped to offer the best possible care to those who may develop a severe case of the virus.

Doctor Fong says if you do have COVID, he wants to emphasize again, there is no safer place for you to be than in their isolation facilities.



4,000 vaccinated in Suva while another 20,000 doses to be rolled out in the West

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 04/05/2021

All 4,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated for Suva have been administered while the Health Ministry is expected to roll out the remaining 20,000 doses through the West by the end of this week.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the vaccine deployment went off without a hitch as high-risk individuals, including the elderly, more frontline healthcare workers, bankers, and taxi, minibus and bus drivers came forward to be protected.

Doctor Fong reminds everyone that getting one dose does not mean you are vaccinated, it takes two on a 10 to 12-week timeline.

He says no one in Fiji is fully vaccinated and all of us must practice strict adherence to our health protection measures until such time that we achieve the full immunity of our eligible population.

Doctor Fong says the day they are able to roll these vaccines out everywhere in Fiji into the arms of every eligible Fijian is the day that lockdowns, like the ones we just endured here in Suva, become all but unnecessary.

He says more doses are on the way, please register online, come forward when you have the chance, and help the ministry take Fiji into the post-pandemic future that is already being embraced around the world.

Meanwhile Doctor Fong says they will be adding four new GeneXpert testing machines to their capacity. That will boost their testing capacity by about 480 tests per day.

He says they have been shattering their daily testing records nearly every day. With these machines at their disposal, they expect that streak to continue.



Members of Lion Heart 7s team screened by the Health Ministry

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu

All members of the Lion Heart 7s team who had participated in the Malomalo 7s have been screened by the Ministry of Health.

The team was an area of concern in contact tracing.

The Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says they are thankful for the team for cooperating with them.

He says currently there are 13 community isolation facilities in the country with about 523 bed capacity and 12 percent occupancy.

Dr. Tudravu further says their screening exercise continues throughout the country and in the last 24 hours their mobile community screening teams screened 10,632 Fijians and 370 were swabbed.



If a significant proportion of the population is not protecting itself that puts everybody else in danger – Dr Fong

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 04/05/2021
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they have asked Police to be on the watch out for people who are not following COVID safety guidelines such as gathering from different households to drink kava and not following social distancing and Police have been able to deal with some people who are not adhering to these guidelines.

Questions have been raised about people living in informal settlements and Public Rental flats like Mead Road Housing where some residents are gathering to drink kava, not wearing face masks and not adhering to social distancing and allowing their children to move around with other children in the neighbourhood.

Doctor Fong says if a significant proportion of the Fijian population is not protecting itself, that puts everyone else in danger.

He says they suspect they may not be able to get to every gathering and he presumes there must be ways that people gather without the authorities noticing.

Doctor Fong says they are hoping to vaccinate the vulnerable people who live close by.



Wed 5th May


Businesses will have to close down if they do not follow COVID-19 guidelines – Dr.Fong

By Sheenal Charan
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Businesses that do not follow COVID-19 social distancing and 50 percent capacity guidelines will have to close down according to the Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

He highlighted this while responding to a question on some supermarkets that are not following COVID-19 guidelines and that it was clearly stated that those businesses that do not follow the guidelines can be shut down as it can be the next super spreader.

He says they will now probably have to get people to patrol it regularly and sort out distancing issues.

Dr Fong says they have tried the soft approach to keep reminding people to follow guidelines, however if it does not happen then they will have to close it down.



People not working due to containment zones can now apply for $90 cash payment

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 04/05/2021
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

People who are living in the Nadi, Lautoka, Suva, Lami and Nausori containment zones and cannot go to work due to the COVID-19 zones in place can now apply for two lots of $45 as a grocery payment as part of a new assistance provided by the government.

They will need to text their name, address, the number of people in their household, and their FNPF account number if there is any.

Those who are already receiving the unemployment benefits are not entitled to this payment.

People who are outside of the containment zone but cannot work as per directive from the Health Ministry can also apply.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they will be finalizing all the technical aspects of it today and will be giving out specific numbers where people can text or call.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they hope to start with the program from Thursday.

He says the government has spoken to the telecommunication companies and they will be using the Vodafone M-Paisa platform and the MyCash platform through Digicel.

The Attorney General says people will receive funds on these platforms and they can either purchase their groceries or take out cash.

He is urging people to use this assistance responsibly.





4,430 families were assisted with food packs in the Suva-Nausori lockdown zone

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 05/05/2021

A total of 4,430 ration packs was distributed to families who ran out of food in the Suva-Nausori lockdown zone over the weekend.

Each food pack had eight items which includes one 10kg rice, 4kg flour, 1kg split peas, 500ml cooking oil, 4 tin fish, 100 gram tea leaves, 2 packets of breakfast crackers and 300 gram packet of milk powder.

The cost of one pack was around $43.50.

Acting Permanent Secretary for Economy Shiri Gounder has thanked all the agencies that provided personnel and vehicles for the distribution such as Vodafone, RFMF, the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Health.

Gounder says the distribution was done with proper recording of every household that received the food pack.

He says major distribution was carried out in the Waidamudamu Settlement, Sakoca, Nanuku in Vatuwaqa, Sasawira Settlement, 8 Miles, Nabua, Caubati, Tacirua, Kinoya, Qarase Road, Nakasi, Davuilevu, Vuci Road, Lakena Irrigation Road and Kasavu.

Gounder says they also distributed baby meals and diapers to those who are in need.

He adds they will give the remaining food packs to the Ministry of Health which will be distributed to people who are in home isolation or cordoned off areas.

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has raised concerns that some people tried to bypass the system.

Sayed-Khaiyum gave a number of examples of the interesting requests that were made.



Health Ministry is still investigating the source of COVID-19 for the Lautoka doctors

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong

The Ministry of Health is still investigating the source of COVID-19 for the two doctors from Lautoka Hospital that tested positive for the virus.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they will be testing every staff that is working inside the isolation facility and see whether there is a link.

He says they are also open to the possibility that the source could be the quarantine facility or the Tavakubu funeral.

Meanwhile, 98 contacts of the two Lautoka Hospital doctors who had tested positive for COVID-19 have been identified and many of these contacts are their colleagues who work at the same hospital, including doctors and nurses.



FNPF members who applied for Phase 2 Round 5 of COVID relief assistance will receive their payment today

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 05/05/2021

Fiji National Provident Fund members who applied for Phase 2 Round 5 of the COVID-19 relief assistance will receive their payment today.

Chief Operating Officer, Pravinesh Singh confirms there have been issues with their system being slow and this has caused a delay in the payment for these members.

Singh says the issues have been resolved and they have put in place measures that will ensure that it is not repeated with future payments.

He has apologised to members for the delay in the release of their Cycle 3 payment but assures members they should be able to access their funds today.

The payment scheduled for yesterday affects members whose Phase 2 Round 5 applications have been approved up to 29th April 2021.



11 people arrested for gathering in a church at Nadevo village in Navosa

11 cases were recorded for crossing containment zones
By Iva Danford
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Police officers at the containment area border near Rups Mega complex Nakasi [Photo: Fiji Police Force]

30 cases were recorded over the last 24 hours for breach of curfew and health restrictions which includes 11 people arrested for gathering in a church at Nadevo village in Navosa.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says the Western Division recorded 24 cases whereby nine people were found to have breached the health restrictions by crossing the Vakabuli lockdown point from Ba to Lautoka while four people who do not live together were arrested in Rakiraki for drinking grog.

Tudravu says in the Southern Division, five reports were recorded including two juveniles who were allegedly crossing the containment zone from Nakasi to Narere.

He says three others were found loitering during curfew hours in the Raiwaqa and Narere area.

Tudravu says the lone case recorded in the North involved a 53-year-old man who was found driving without a valid reason in Labasa Town during curfew hours.

There were no cases of breach of curfew and health restrictions recorded in the Central and Eastern Divisions.



Funding from countries helps cushion the blow on our revenue collection from COVID-19 - AG

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the funding they receive from other countries helps cushion the blow with respect to our revenue collection.

Fijivillage had asked Sayed-Khaiyum whether some of the discussions with donor countries is underway after the effect on businesses and revenue collections following the necessary COVID-19 containment zones.

He says when there is a containment zone and some businesses do not open, it impacts government’s revenue collection because the staff do not get paid or there is a reduction in their salary.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds these things are looked at in the budget.

The Attorney General says they can adjust the deficit by the funding they may receive because the good development partners understand what is happening.

He says another way is to tighten the expenditure to make sure that everything which is budgeted for is met.



Some PRB Housing tenants not following COVID-19 safety guidelines

People have a role to play to overcome the spread of the virus - Kumar
By Navitalai Naivalurua, Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Minister for Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar

Serious concerns have been raised by some people residing at Public Rental Board Housing that some tenants are still disregarding the COVID-19 guidelines. Fijivillage received calls that people from different flats are socialising with their neighbours over grog or just a talanoa session and children are being neglected by some parents as they are seen playing.

They also say Police should conduct their rounds in the area to stop this from happening. Minister for Housing and Community Development, Premila Kumar says her Ministry has written to the management of both the Public Rental Board and HART homes emphasizing the importance of adhering to social distancing practices and other safety measures.

She says the PRB management has confirmed that they have advised all tenants to strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s advice and stay indoors.

Kumar says PRB has also confirmed that estate and block committees have been encouraged to ensure that tenants adhere to the guidelines.

She adds the people also have an important role to play in this and without their understanding and support, it is hard to overcome the spread of the virus.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says they suspect they may not be able to get to every gathering and he presumes there must be ways that people gather without the authorities noticing.

He says they have asked Police to be on the watch out for people who are not following COVID safety guidelines and Police have been able to deal with some people who are not adhering to these guidelines.

Doctor Fong says they are hoping to vaccinate the vulnerable people who live close by.



Concerns raised that other routes are being used to cross containment areas

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Police checkpoint

Serious concerns have been raised that people are using other routes to cross from one containment area to another, however Police had earlier stated that they are now monitoring the cross-cuts at the containment zone borders.

We received calls from people residing in the Nausori Containment Area that villagers from Naitasiri and those living beyond the Logani Village border are using Baulevu Road and Kasavu to cross over.

Also, people living in Narere have told us that some people are crossing over from the Suva Containment Area to the Nausori Containment Area by using the cross-cut at Navosai.

Meanwhile, Police say they are monitoring cross-cuts but they cannot be everywhere to monitor each person's movement and they will need the assistance of the people in this case.

Police are urging people to call their Command Centres or their nearest Police Station if they see anyone breaching the COVID-19 guidelines in their area. People can call their Command Centres on 9905-457 for the Western Division, 9905-529 for the Southern Division, 9905-722 for the Northern Division and 9905-563 for the Eastern Division.

Please do not try to cross the containment zone borders as the risk of the spread of the virus is very high.



We did not defy the Health Ministry’s business shut down order – Lyndhurst

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Lyndhurst Group of Companies CEO Rokoseru Nabalarua. Photo: LinkedIn

Lyndhurst Group of Companies says their factory at the Kalabu Tax Free Zone did not defy the Ministry of Health business shut down order from Monday, 26th April as was suggested by a journalist during the press conference on Monday 3rd May.

In a statement the CEO of the company Rokoseru Nabalarua says work on their factory floor ceased as directed by the Fijian Government on Sunday 25th April and by Monday 26th April, all their employees including their factory workers and patient number 113 were directed not to come to work.

Nabalarua further says after applying and obtaining official permits from the Fiji Police Force on Monday 26th April and the Ministry of Health on Wednesday 28th April, less than 3% of their employees who are classified as critical workers which included internal security officers were at work that week to complete urgent administrative and operational matters before the Ministry of Health ordered a complete shutdown on Thursday, 29th April, and they have been adhering to the mandatory 14-day isolation period at their respective homes ever since.

He adds they also want to correct the inaccuracies reported in one of the newspapers on Tuesday, 4th May that a staff member from one factory was fraternizing with a staff of a neighbouring factory.

Nabalarua says the fact of the matter is that their staff member and a staff member of a neighbouring factory share the same home and work bus.

Nabalarua says they would like to express its utmost thanks and gratitude to all the frontline workers who have been working hard over the recent weeks in the all-important and life-saving fight to contain and free the country of COVID-19.



Shop N Save donates $35,000 worth of grocery vouchers for front-line workers

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Shop N Save donates $35,000 worth of grocery vouchers for front-line workers

The Ministry of Defence, National Security and Policing, Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, and the Ministry of Health has received 35,000 dollars worth of grocery vouchers for their front-line workers from Shop N Save Supermarkets.

While making the announcement, Director of Shop N Save Supermarkets, Nisheel Deo says they thank the front-liners for their hard work and hope the vouchers will be of great assistance.

Minister for Defence, National Security and Policing, Inia Seruiratu says we are in a very challenging time and we are all in this together.

Seruiratu says they are thankful for the assistance and assures that the vouchers will be used for the front-liners.

Health Minister, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete says donations such as these are helpful in terms of being able to support the front-line staff.




Health Minister says it is always a pleasure to have the PM in the daily COVID briefings and stresses this is a whole of government effort based on science

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 05/05/2021
COVID Task Force meeting at the Health Ministry. Photo: Dr Waqainabete/Instagram

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama continues to be part of the daily COVID Task Force meeting at the Health Ministry Headquarters and Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says this is a whole of government effort based on science #TogetherWeWill.

He has tweeted that it is always a pleasure to have the Prime Minister join them daily for his brief.

Doctor Waqainabete says their Health Ministry Leadership joins via zoom across Fiji and are encouraged daily during these briefing sessions.

He says in addition, other Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries zoom in as well.

Army Commander, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu have also been attending the briefings.



AG responds to question regarding email by Tabuya about him

Tabuya says the email in question was private, and not for public consumption
By Vijay Narayan, Shanil Singh
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Lynda Tabuya

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says it is quite disconcerting that you have certain people in public life who think that it is fine to attack people personally and he says they do not realize what would happen if their families would be involved too.

While responding to a question in a press conference on an email being circulated by Lynda Tabuya that Sayed-Khaiyum brought the Indian variant of COVID to Fiji, a concerned Sayed-Khaiyum says this matter is being personalised and he also says a bit of decency, decorum, finesse and class is required.

When questioned by Fijivillage on the email and Sayed-Khaiyum’s comments, Tabuya says the Attorney General can call her a nincompoop and belittle her for having no health experience, qualifications or acumen, but she says frankly neither does he.

Tabuya says the email in question was private, and not for public consumption and while she says she knows who the SODELPA snitch is that leaked it to a newspaper outlet, the subject matter of the email is of great importance as are the questions which go straight to the question of trust.

She asks why have certain locals been permitted to travel to and from India since the deadly Indian variant was discovered and was the Attorney General on the same flight from Singapore as the couple who had this deadly Indian variant.

Tabuya says Fijians deserve answers to these questions rather than being thrown scraps of selective information.



4 new cases of COVID-19 announced

1 is a patient who was admitted to Lautoka Hospital on 19th April for a surgical procedure
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed after another 2065 tests.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says one case is extremely serious.

He says the patient, case 125, is a 53-year-old man who was admitted to the Lautoka Hospital on the 19th of April 2021 for a surgical procedure.

The procedure was performed successfully however on the 28th of April, he developed some respiratory symptoms.

Doctor Fong says on the 29th of April, he was seen by case 120, the 25-year-old doctor at Lautoka Hospital.

The Permanent Secretary says the man was asked to be swabbed for COVID-19 however he refused on two occasions.

The doctor developed symptoms on May 1st, and tested positive yesterday.

Doctor Fong says on the 2nd of May, the same patient was assessed by case 121, the 30-year-old doctor from Lautoka Hospital.

He says they know that this doctor, case 121, had tested negative for the virus on April 26th, he tested positive yesterday as part of contact tracing for case 120, and his results indicate he very recently caught the virus.

Early today, the patient’s condition began deteriorating.

He was moved into an intensive care unit and swabbed for the virus. Barely four hours ago he tested positive for COVID-19.

Doctor Fong says his condition will be discussed more with his family before any public announcement.

The Permanent Secretary says the man’s described timeline and the recent deterioration in his condition indicate he is likely a late-stage carrier of the virus.

Doctor Fong says they suspect that this patient, who is case number 125, transmitted the virus to the doctors, not the other way around.

He says they do not know when or where this patient contracted the virus as it could have been from outside or within the hospital.

The other local case is a 27-year-old woman who resides in Narere.

She entered quarantine on 28th April 2021 as a contact of one of the cases from Makoi.

Further investigations revealed that, during a family gathering on April 17th, she also had close contact with another case from Makoi.

Doctor Fong says she was confirmed as positive for COVID-19 this morning.

He says that gathering is now potentially the source point of three cases.

Doctor Fong says it was only a small family gathering with members from a few different households, but that was more than enough to have national ramifications.

He says it is why one of the first and most important health measures they introduced was to limit gatherings, of all sizes, everywhere in Fiji. The members of the Narere woman’s household have also been in quarantine from 29th April.

He says all have tested negative for COVID-19 at this time.

Doctor Fong says unfortunately, she did not have the careFIJI app installed, so they are relying entirely on the traditional contact tracing methods.

He says if she had the careFIJI app and had kept it on, this could all happen much faster.

The Permanent Secretary says with more than 250,000 downloads, careFIJI is rapidly being widely adopted across Fiji but on behalf of the contact tracers, Doctor Fong says he won’t stay quiet about the need for more downloads of the app until that number surpasses 600,000, which is the number of smartphones in Fiji.

There were two border quarantine cases.

These are both soldiers returning from their tours of duty as peacekeepers in Sinai.


Intensive Care Unit cases, like the one we now have at Lautoka Hospital, may be a red flag for widespread transmission – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Police stand guard outside Lautoka Hospital. Photo: Fiji Police Force

Lautoka Hospital is now a tightly contained COVID care facility, with more than 400 patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff effectively quarantined within the hospital until the Health Ministry can determine who else may or may not have had contact with the 53-year patient who had tested for COVID.

Doctor Fong says from a statistical standpoint, Intensive Care Unit cases, like the one we now have at Lautoka Hospital, maybe a red flag for widespread transmission.

He also says that it tells us that there are likely many more cases of the virus out there.

Doctor Fong says they have dreaded a worst-case scenario such as this since the day of our first case in March of last year. He says those months of planning have informed an immediate whole-of-government course of action.

He says to prevent the hospital from becoming ground-zero for a wider outbreak, the members of the disciplined forces have locked down Lautoka Hospital in a matter of hours.

Some staff who have left the hospital have been called back in.

RFMF personnel and members of the Police have ring-fenced the entire hospital and will strictly manage who is allowed onto the premises.

The Lautoka Hospital will be closed to the public, all medical services will be re-routed to a network of back-up hospitals in Nadi, Ba, and Sigatoka, as well as the Punjas and Kamikami health centres in Lautoka.

He says the borders of the containment areas are open to those travelling for medical emergencies, so this can already be facilitated.

Doctor Fong says given they expect more cases, and more severe cases, sections within the Lautoka Hospital are being converted into intensive care units which will house additional beds and ventilators.

The staff of Lautoka Hospital will be accommodated and work within the hospital while contact tracing continues.

The staffing capacity in Lautoka Hospital was already stretched due to the quarantine of the close contacts of the two doctors.

He says those who are working will operate on high-alert, fully-equipped in the proper personal protective equipment.

They will be screened regularly and tested often.

Doctor Fong says they are going to provide the staff with any and all support that they need.

He says they will provide food, supplies, bedding, and whatever they require. The Permanent Secretary also says there is going to be a lot more swabbing around Lautoka.



Ra case is within the same cluster that links back to the border quarantine facility

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 05/05/2021
COVID-19 testing

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says they can confirm that the first COVID-19 case of unknown origin in Ra had the virus which is genetically identical to other local cases, and it is the same B1.617 variant that was first detected in India.

Doctor Fong says they have received the genomic sequencing result from the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit at the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne with regards to the Ra case.

He says while they have not established a direct person-to-person link to other local cases, they know that this case is linked to the others, and is within the same cluster that links back to the border quarantine facility.



9 more patients have recovered from COVID-19

2 soldiers had returned from peacekeeping duties on April 27th
By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 05/05/2021
Head of Health Protection Aalisha Sahukhan

The two soldiers who are the latest border quarantine cases are a 33-year-old and a 46-year-old who returned from peacekeeping duties from Sinai on the 27th of last month.

The Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan says they tested positive during routine testing while undergoing mandatory quarantine in a quarantine facility.

Sahukhan says 9 more patients have recovered.

Fiji currently has 39 active cases, 8 are border quarantine cases, 28 are locally transmitted cases while 3 cases are under investigation.

Sahukhan further says 58,321 lab tests have been conducted while the daily testing average is 1,281.



Thu 6th May


53-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 passes away

This is Fiji’s 3rd reported death due to COVID, and our 1st death for a person who had contracted the virus locally
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Lautoka Hospital

The man admitted to the Lautoka Hospital Intensive Care Unit yesterday for a severe illness due to COVID-19 has sadly passed away.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this is Fiji’s third reported death due to the coronavirus, and this is our first death for a person who had contracted the virus locally.

Doctor Fong says the 53-year-old man was admitted at Lautoka Hospital since April 19th, when he was admitted for a surgical procedure.

The patient was transferred to the ICU yesterday afternoon after his condition began deteriorating, and it was at this time that he was swabbed and tested positive for the virus.

He says unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the ICU team, he passed away just a few hours later with time of death at 6.35pm.

Doctor Fong says they had learned of this man’s passing before the press conference last night, but they chose to delay making the official announcement to the public until his family members could be properly informed.

He says nobody should learn about the death of a loved one on the news or on social media if that can be avoided.

They stand by the decision to allow them a window of privacy before the passing of their loved one was announced to the nation. Doctor Fong says as this case has shown, the virus can attack anyone, and with devastating consequences.

He urges the public to show concern and sympathy for all people who become infected.

The Permanent Secretary also urges the public once again to get tested if there is even a small chance you may have been exposed to the virus, to cooperate fully with the contact tracing teams, and to observe the practices that will keep us all safe.

Fijivillage also respected the privacy of the family members and ensured that the next of kin of the man was properly notified.

We are making the announcement after the official confirmation by the Permanent Secretary for Health.



About 100 patients in the Lautoka Hospital – Dr Fong

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 06/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says there are about 100 or so patients at the Lautoka Hospital and they have enough staff to look after those patients.

The Lautoka Hospital is now a tightly contained COVID care facility, with more than 400 patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff effectively quarantined within the hospital until the Health Ministry can determine who else may or may not have had contact with the 53-year old patient who had tested for COVID-19.

Doctor Fong says the COVID-19 Ward at the Lautoka Hospital still remains active and the staff working in that ward will stay there.

He adds the rest of the staff will do shift work to care for the rest of the patients.

He says they also want to expand to an area that they have opened up to take in anymore people in the Lautoka Hospital that get COVID-19.



13 community isolation facilities remain open and currently occupied by COVID-19 patients – Dr Tudravu

By Iva Danford
Thursday 06/05/2021
Health Ministry's Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu. [Image: Fijian Government]

There are 13 community isolation facilities that remain open and are currently occupied by COVID-19 positive patients.

This has been confirmed by the Health Ministry's Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu who says these facilities are being looked after by health officials and RFMF soldiers.

Doctor Tudravu says today they anticipate to discharge more than 300 people who came in repatriation flights.

He says 58 stationary screening clinics have been operating through the country and within the last 24 hours 4,598 Fijians have been screened and 626 have been swabbed.



Police officers enforcing social distancing after hundreds turn up to Tilak High School to get vaccinated

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
[Image: Fiji Police Force]

Police are on the ground enforcing social distancing at the Tilak High School COVID-19 vaccination centre in Lautoka after hundreds of people turned up to get vaccinated from this morning.

Social distancing was not being followed earlier in the day.

Some people had contacted Legend FM News, saying Lautoka is already an area of concern, and this can just make matters worse.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says he has spoken to Police and they will ensure the COVID guidelines are strictly followed.

Please avoid crowds as they can become super spreaders.

Maintain your social distancing, keep your mask on, ensure your careFIJI app is running and wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.



16 year old arrested as he tried to cross the border in Wainibuku

53 people arrested for breaching health restrictions and curfew orders
By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 06/05/2021
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

A 16-year-old student from Rokara Settlement in Khalsa Road has been arrested after he was trying to cross the border in Wainibuku near the Rups Nakasi.

53 people have been arrested in the last 24 hours for breaching health restrictions and curfew orders.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says 44 cases were linked to either alcohol or kava.

He says the Southern Division recorded 34 cases including 9 people who were found drunk at the Laucala Beach area as well as two others who were arrested at Viwawa in Navua for being intoxicated.

Tudravu further says 2 men were found drunk in Tacirua during curfew hours while a 28-year-old man was arrested in Nabua after he was found loitering.

6 men from Tuirara in Makoi and 8 people from Narere were arrested as they were found drunk and breaching health restrictions in place.

A 35-year-old man was found driving without a pass during curfew hours in Nabua.

Tudravu says the Eastern Division recorded 9 cases including 4 people who were found drinking inside a vehicle along the Bau Road area, 3 were arrested for drinking kava in the Baulevu area while two farmers of Vunidawa were found drunk along Serea Road in Naitasiri during curfew hours.

The Acting Police Commissioner adds 7 people were found intoxicated in Naduri Village in Macuata while 3 other cases were recorded in Lautoka for breach of curfew.

Tudravu says they remind people that Police will continue to arrest those that do not adhere to the instructions and advisories issued.



Police speak to officers at Vatuwaqa checkpoint after some drivers were stopped for not wearing masks while driving alone

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
[image: Fiji Police]

Police say they support the Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong’s statement that it is not necessary for a driver to wear a mask while travelling alone however it is vital for drivers of public service vehicles to wear masks.

This follows concerns raised by some private vehicle drivers who were being stopped by officers at the Vatuwaqa checkpoint and asked to wear their mask although the driver was alone in the vehicle with the windows up.

Police spokesperson, Savaira Tabua says the officers in Vatuwaqa have been advised about the statement by the Permanent Secretary for Health.

Police also encourage people to wear masks irrespective of which places they are in.



Mother of 2 is missing her family however confident that they will be able to ride out this difficult phase

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 06/05/2021
[Image: file photo]

A mother of two who is a ward assistant at the Lautoka Hospital and is now confined at the hospital for an indefinite period of time says they all have to just go through this phase to keep their loved ones safe at home.

The 45-year-old woman who wants to remain anonymous says she started her shift at 11am yesterday.

The woman who resides in a settlement outside Lautoka City has two children and a husband at home.

She says they were told yesterday afternoon that Lautoka Hospital is on lockdown and they will have to remain there.

She says she initially could not believe what she heard from the officials and it was hard for her to relay this message to her family members, however, she knows the step taken was for the betterment of all as the danger is real and they cannot put the lives of their loved ones and others at risk.

The woman says she later spoke to her loved ones at home and also asked them to pack a bag of clothes that was picked by health officials.

She says she barely slept last night as there is a lot of fear in the hospital, however being a frontline worker, they have to be ready for this kind of situation.

The Lautoka Hospital is now a tightly contained COVID care facility, with more than 400 patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff quarantined within the hospital until the Health Ministry can determine who else may or may not have had contact with the 53-year old patient who had tested for COVID-19.



Fiji Airways and Fiji Link extend flight cancellations

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
[Image: File Photo]

Fiji Airways and Fiji Link have extended flight cancellations in light of the continued movement restrictions in Fiji.

All domestic Fiji Link passenger flights have been cancelled until 16th May 2021 while all international Fiji Airways passenger repatriation flights into and out of Fiji have been cancelled until 18th May 2021.

The airline company says dedicated freighter services will continue to ensure vital export and import supply chains for Fiji remain intact.



Police to arrest people if they do not follow the gazetted COVID-19 health guidelines

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu. [Image: Fiji Police Force]

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says anyone not following the two metres distancing inside or outside the supermarket in any containment area will be arrested.

Tudravu says officers will closely be monitoring businesses and all employees and customers to wear face coverings to enter their premises.

He says it is also vital for every driver of a Public Service Vehicle and the travelling passengers who are 5 years of age or older to wear masks and minibus drivers are to ensure that all passengers in the minibus are physically distanced from each other.

Parents and guardians are to monitor their children and advise them of restrictions in place and also remind every family member that to stay in their containment zone and not enter another containment zone.

Those living within a containment zone may only travel for employment, accessing services provided by an essential business, or an emergency.

Tudravu says members of the force will ensure that all these restrictions are enforced and followed in all containment zones including Suva, Lami, Nausori, Nadi, and Lautoka.

The Acting Commissioner says they are strengthening enforcement of the public health measures as published in the gazette.

He says these urgent actions are targeted at ensuring Fijians adhere to the instructions as stipulated under the Public Health Act. Tudravu says it was noticed that some people still do not adhere to the instructions and this has forced the institution to enforce restrictions on the ground from tonight and take those to task who still do not comply.

According to the government gazette signed by Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong, any person in a queue in Viti Levu must be at least 2 metres away from any other person in the queue, with effect from 22nd April 2021.

Except for a gathering in the course of employment or a funeral gathering not exceeding 20 persons, any gathering is banned for the whole of Fiji, with effect from 22 April 2021; and any contact sports engagement is banned for the whole of Fiji.

Gathering means any assembly of individuals in a single location and includes meetings, religious gatherings such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events, weddings, parties and concerts.

Any owner of a public service vehicle in a containment zone must ensure that the public service vehicle only operates within the containment zone, with effect from 4am on 3rd May 2021.

This is according to a government gazette signed by Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete.

The gazette also says that any business in a containment zone that is not an essential business must close, with effect from 4am on 3rd May 2021.

A gazette signed off by the Health Minister also says any driver of a public service vehicle, or passenger in a public service vehicle who is 5 years of age or older, must wear a face covering in the proper manner while driving or travelling in the public service vehicle, with effect from 24th April 2021. Any driver of a bus or minibus must ensure that all the passengers are physically distanced from each other.

Any driver of a public service vehicle must limit the passenger capacity of the public service vehicle to 50 percent, with effect from 4am on 26th April 2021.

The gazette also clearly states that any business in Fiji must require its employees, and customers who are 5 years of age or older, to wear face coverings in the proper manner in order to enter the premises of the business, with effect from 24th April 2021.



16-year-old arrested as he tried to cross the border in Wainibuku

53 people for breaching health restrictions and curfew orders
By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 06/05/2021

A 16-year-old student from Rokara Settlement in Khalsa Road has been arrested after he was trying to cross the border in Wainibuku near Rups Nakasi.

53 people have been arrested in the last 24 hours for breaching health restrictions and curfew orders.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says 44 cases were linked to either alcohol or kava.

He says the Southern Division recorded 34 cases including 9 people who were found drunk at the Laucala Beach area as well as two others who were arrested at Viwawa in Navua for being intoxicated.

Tudravu further says 2 men were found drunk in Tacirua during curfew hours while a 28-year-old man was arrested in Nabua after he was found loitering.

6 men from Tuirara in Makoi and 8 people from Narere were arrested as they were found drunk and breaching health restrictions in place.

A 35-year-old man was found driving without a pass during curfew hours in Nabua.

Tudravu says the Eastern Division recorded 9 cases including 4 people who were found drinking inside a vehicle along the Bau Road area, 3 were arrested for drinking kava in the Baulevu area while two farmers of Vunidawa were found drunk along Serea Road in Naitasiri during curfew hours.

The Acting Police Commissioner adds 7 people were found intoxicated in Naduri Village in Macuata while 3 other cases were recorded in Lautoka for breach of curfew.

Tudravu says they remind people that Police will continue to arrest those that do not adhere to the instructions and advisories issued.



Moving forward we may explore a legislative framework to help in making sure people who need to be tested for COVID-19 are swabbed – Dr Fong

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 06/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says moving forward they may explore other legislative frameworks to help them in making sure that people who need to be tested for COVID-19 are swabbed.

This is after he revealed that the 53-year-old man who had tested positive for COVID-19 had refused to be swabbed on two occasions.

Dr.Fong says when they are dealing with an invasive procedure and the patient is conscious and can make their own decision, the doctors need to get the consent.

He says if the patient is conscious and refuses to do what they want them to do, they will require a court order.

Dr.Fong further says if the patient is unconscious or cannot make that decision then many times they may assume the responsibility of the patient.



MLC Veivueti and its crew start to deliver medical services in Lautoka from today

Team from Labasa Hospital in Viti Levu to help their colleagues in Suva the West
By Iva Danford
Thursday 06/05/2021
MV Veivueti crew. Photo: Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama/Facebook

The government multipurpose vessel that is designed to provide both primary and secondary medical services to the maritime islands, MLC Veivueti and its crew will start to deliver medical services in Lautoka from today.

The team is led by Captain Eroni Mateisuva and Chief Engineer, Luke Cama.

This comes after the lockdown of Lautoka Hospital from last night as the Health Ministry tries to determine who else may or may not have had contact with the 53-year patient who had tested for COVID from the hospital.

The Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete also tweeted that a team from Labasa Hospital had crossed over to Viti Levu to help their colleagues in Suva and the West.

Doctor Waqainabete says they are grateful for these young medical and nursing professionals who have put up their hands to assist.

The Minister also thanked the Medical Superintendent in Labasa Hospital Jaoji Vulibeci for allowing their release and providing continued support.



Raiwaqa Health Centre closes after nurse tests positive for COVID-19

4 new COVID-19 cases announced tonight - 1 border quarantine case, 3 locally transmitted cases
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
[image: File]

Four new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed – three are locally transmitted cases while there is one border quarantine case.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the first case is another border quarantine case that had travelled with a border quarantine case announced earlier. One is a 47-year-old nurse at the Raiwaqa Health Centre.

She was swabbed after she reported a slight cough.

After her positive result registered today, the Health Ministry immediately closed the Raiwaqa Health Centre to the public.

Doctor Fong says a contact tracing investigation has been launched, all relevant personnel and patients are being quarantined. The nurse’s household contacts have also been swabbed.

Her 51-year-old husband has also tested positive for COVID-19. He is also a focus of a contact tracing investigation.

The Permanent Secretary says they only identified these two cases late this afternoon, and they do not yet have a clear link of transmission for either case.

The other local case is a 25-year-old nurse working within Lautoka Hospital.

Doctor Fong says this nurse is already in the Lautoka Hospital since last night along with the rest of the hospital’s personnel and patients.

He says after her positive test results, she has been entered into isolation. Investigations are ongoing into how she might have caught the virus. Doctor Fong also says the testing has ruled out a breach of the Lautoka Hospital Isolation Ward after all staff returned negative COVID-19 test results.

He says this is a reassuring affirmation of the operational protocols for their COVID Isolation Ward which must be maintained as the most secure facilities in the country.

However, this news also indicates that the community is the most likely source of the Lautoka Hospital outbreak.

He says in the early phase of their containment strategy, they hoped to break the early chains of transmission quickly by tracing and testing primary and secondary contacts of existing cases.

Doctor Fong says they have always screened carefully for symptomatic cases among the community as well, however, this surge in cases of unknown origin demands that they develop much stronger mechanisms of community surveillance.

He says as their testing capacity steadily increases, they are going to become even more judicious in their testing of all Fijians with COVID-like symptoms, regardless of their connection to existing patients.

But Doctor Fong says the thing about community surveillance is that it requires the community.

He says it requires that all of us are fully invested in the containment of the virus.

The Permanent Secretary says screening clinics can be opened, but it takes the initiative of an ill patient to come forward for the ministry to find them.


Urgent steps taken to prevent more of our health facilities from becoming source points of new COVID outbreaks – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
The Lautoka Hospital is now serving as a full-time COVID care facility. [image: File]

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says following the worrying spate of cases among our healthcare workers, they are taking urgent steps to prevent more of our health facilities from becoming source points of new COVID outbreaks.

Doctor Fong says their longstanding protocol has been to screen all incoming patients for COVID-19 symptoms and test if necessary at admission. He says this will be strengthened.

They will also be heavily restricting visiting hours at all hospitals and health centres in Fiji to limit mixing between patients, medical personnel, and the general public.

He says this was not an easy decision for the Health Ministry.

Doctor Fong says they have only considered it given the serious threat this virus poses to the people and the ability to offer other forms of life-saving care.

He says with Lautoka Hospital now serving as a full-time COVID care facility, they need every hospital and health centre in the country open and accessible for other critical medical treatments.


150-bed Non-COVID Field Hospital to be set up in Lautoka – Dr Fong

Govt to pay private doctors for non-COVID treatment or consultations in Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says to cater for non-COVID patients, they are setting up a 150-bed Non-COVID Field Hospital in Lautoka.

Doctor Fong says they plan to have this open in 48 hours to handle patients with illnesses that can be treated on a 21-day timeline.

As announced by the Prime Minister, the Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team (FEMAT) has been dispatched on the government medical carrier vessel, the MV Veivueti, to support the healthcare management strategy within the Lautoka Containment Area.

The Permanent Secretary says extending from that field hospital will be clear patient care flow pathways that allow for patients to be securely moved to other hospitals and healthcare facilities if necessary.

The Field Hospital will enforce strict COVID screening and security to ensure it is a COVID-free facility, while the Lautoka Hospital remains exclusively a COVID care facility.

To ensure there are no lapses in healthcare services for those looking to visit public hospitals, Doctor Fong says they have been talking to a number of private general practitioners in the Nadi-Lautoka-Ba area to open the doors of their clinics to those Fijians who normally cannot afford to visit a private practitioner.

Government will directly pay the private practitioners for the treatment and consultations provided for such people.

He says under these soon-to-be finalised arrangements, patients who normally go to public hospitals and health centres can access non-COVID treatment or consultations at private clinics in Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba.

Tomorrow, they will be announcing the names of the private doctors who have stepped up in solidarity with the Health Ministry to ensure the people can access the non-COVID care they require.

He has urged other private doctors to call him.

Doctor Fong says contingency plans have also been developed for a range of scenarios, including the need to expand capacity in the event of additional community cases in and outside of Lautoka, a severe weather event, or a COVID-leak in the Field Hospital.

He says this is the first major operation for FEMAT in response to a national disaster and their teams are ready to show the nation what they can do.




Non-essential businesses outside containment areas should close – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong

The Health Ministry says non-essential businesses outside the containment areas should close.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says the opening of these businesses are simply no longer worth the risk.

He says Lautoka and Suva are not the only areas of the country that require vigilance.

Doctor Fong says we now have too many cases of possible community transmission to say, with confidence, that the virus is limited to the containment areas.

He says nationwide, supermarkets, shops, banks, pharmacies, and other essential industries are the only businesses that should open.

Doctor Fong stresses that early society-wide prevention measures can decrease widespread transmission.

Wash your hands often, wear a mask in public, install careFIJI and keep it running every time you leave the home, and maintain physical distance at all times.

He says police have announced today they will be enforcing physical distance in public places and businesses.

If you see a crowd, don’t add to the problem. Stay away.



It will be too late to prevent a great deal of human suffering if ICUs become stressed with high numbers of COVID patients – Dr Fong

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 06/05/2021
Testing for COVID-19

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says if the ICUs become stressed with high numbers of COVID-positive patients, they will be hard-pressed, like other countries with high rates of infection, to fully treat people who need critical care, and it will be too late to prevent a great deal of human suffering.

Doctor Fong says we still have the chance to stop that from happening.

He has asked that households, communities, organisations, and businesses all think seriously about the steps they can take as well.

Doctor Fong says the health guidance they publish is the baseline for the actions and behaviour they expect from businesses and the public.

He says you could save a life, and together, as that commitment carries across the country, all of us can spare Fiji from the further heartbreak of losing more patients to this virus.



A lockdown has to serve a purpose – Dr Fong

Contact tracing continues for the Raiwaqa Health Centre Nurse and her husband
By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 06/05/2021
[image: Fiji Police]

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong says a lockdown is not something you just throw in and then think about what to do, you think about what you will do in a lockdown then you institute a lockdown.

While answering a question whether they will consider doing a lockdown like last weekend, Dr. Fong says they are rounding up all the contacts of the nurse from the Raiwaqa Health Centre and her husband.

He says the curfew starts at 11pm and they do have some opportunity to ensure they get some containment plans, and swab the contacts and get more information till 4am.

The Permanent Secretary adds once they reach that point in time, they will start to work out what else they need to do.

Dr Fong further says personally he would like to see the data and see whether a lockdown will work adding that a lockdown has to serve a purpose.

He says they are aware of the side effects of the lockdown - the social problems associated with it and they do not take it lightly.



42 active cases of COVID-19 – Dr Sahukhan

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 06/05/2021
Head of Health Protection Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan.

Fiji currently has 42 active cases of COVID-19 in isolation.

The Head of Health Protection Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan says 9 are border quarantine cases, 29 are locally transmitted cases and 4 cases are under investigation.

She adds the source of transmission for the recently deceased patient is also still under investigation.

Dr Sahukhan says Fiji has done 60,054 lab tests since last year and the daily average is 1,437 tests.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s new border quarantine case is a 22-year-old Tongan national who was repatriating to Tonga from Guyana. She says the patient arrived in Nadi on the 22nd of last month from Auckland.

Dr.Sahukhan says this was the last inbound commercial passenger flight before inbound international passenger travel was halted.

She further says he is a travelling partner of a previously announced border quarantine case.



We will keep testing until we separate the positives and the negatives at Lautoka Hospital- Dr Fong

By Shanil Singh
Thursday 06/05/2021
Lautoka Hospital. [Image: File Photo]

The Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says they have protocols in place to separate the positive and negative COVID-19 cases at the Lautoka Hospital.

Fijivillage had questioned Dr Fong if all measures are in place to ensure there is no breakout of cases within the Lautoka Hospital containment area.

The Permanent Secretary says they will also be testing everyone back and forth and people should be tested atleast five times while they are there.

Dr Fong says as they get more positive cases, they will be putting them in isolation.

He says they will continue with this until they get a true segregation between the positives and the negatives.



Fri 7th May


A whole of government effort is now in place - Dr. Fong

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 07/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong

The Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong says a whole of government effort is currently in place in response to cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Dr Fong says they had a response and preparedness plan even before February this year that had all necessary details of what would happen as things escalate.

He made these comments when questioned as to what plans are in place if Fiji's public health system is unable to handle an escalation.

Dr. Fong says a number of functional pillars will be gradually activated as things escalate and all these pillars will not only help government but also help their partners to help them.

He says they have even practiced excercises and solidified a lot of protocols during TC Ana and Yasa and reorganised the whole of the health system to have greater outreach capacity, and this was in preparation for the possibility of this particular scenario.

He says the idea to form a Fiji Emergency Medical Response Team was brought up by Health Minister, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete three years ago and was purposed for this kind of outbreak.

He says this response plan also involves a lot of partners and they will unveil this plan as things escalate.

It has also been revealed that this response plan will get funding support from the European Union, the UK and other donors who will be supporting the response and preparedness effort in the Pacific and Fiji.



Health Ministry teams contact tracing, screening and testing in many parts of the country

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 07/05/2021
Contact tracing, screening and testing are underway in many parts of Viti Levu.

Health Ministry teams contact tracing, screening and testing in many parts of the country

Contact tracing, screening and testing are underway in many parts of Viti Levu today as the Health Ministry tries to establish the source points of different COVID-19 cases in the community.

Police are also on the ground ensuring that people are following the gazetted COVID guidelines.

Please stay home and avoid unnecessary movement.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong stresses that when you move, the virus moves.

Police have stressed for people to wear their mask at all times and be reminded to maintain the 2 metres distancing as issued by the Ministry of Health.

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Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says anyone not following the two metres distancing inside or outside the supermarket in any containment area will be arrested.

Tudravu says officers will closely be monitoring businesses and all employees and customers to wear face coverings to enter their premises.

He says it is also vital for every driver of a Public Service Vehicle and the travelling passengers who are 5 years of age or older to wear masks and bus and minibus drivers are to ensure that all passengers in the bus and minibus are physically distanced from each other.

While answering a question whether they will consider doing a lockdown like last weekend, Dr. Fong says they are rounding up all the contacts of the nurse from the Raiwaqa Health Centre and her husband.

He says the curfew starts at 11pm and they do have some opportunity to ensure they get some containment plans, and swab the contacts and get more information till 4am.

The Permanent Secretary adds once they reach that point in time, they will start to work out what else they need to do.

Dr Fong further says personally he would like to see the data and see whether a lockdown will work adding that a lockdown has to serve a purpose.

He says they are aware of the side effects of the lockdown - the social problems associated with it and they do not take it lightly.



Supermarkets in Suva now have floor markings for social distancing outside

People still seen crowding up in front of market vendors outside Suva Market
By Semi Turaga
Friday 07/05/2021

Social distancing floor markings have now been drawn up outside many of the major supermarkets, banks and post offices in the wider Suva area today.

Many of the supermarkets now have people stationed outside to ensure that people are standing on the floor markings.

There are long lines of people outside all the supermarkets in Suva.

This was observed by fijivillage between 10.30am to 11.30am this morning. We have made observations at 11 supermarkets so far and are continuing to check other areas.

Majority of the people walking around Suva can be seen wearing masks.

It was concerning to see the lack of social distancing outside the Suva Market and Fish Markets in the wider Suva area.

While there are SCC officials controlling the number of people that can go inside the market, people are still crowding up in front of vendors outside.





All the measures we are taking is based on protecting the CWM Hospital - Dr Fong

Ministry looking to turn Fulton College into a health facility
By Shanil Singh
Friday 07/05/2021
CWM Hospital, Suva. [image: File]

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong has assured the public that they are taking all the necessary measures to protect the CWM Hospital and everything they are doing at the moment is based on keeping the hospital safe.

We had questioned him about what is being done to ensure that the situation at the Lautoka Hospital and the Raiwaqa Health Centre is not repeated at the CWM Hospital.

Dr Fong says whatever work the FEMAT team is doing in Lautoka at the moment is to protect CWM and the ministry is also scoping Fulton College to see if they can turn it into a health facility.

He says they are trying to create more capability in the community to keep CWM safe because they have a lot of urgent services at the hospital.



No lockdown for Suva this weekend – Dr Fong

No extended curfew, containment areas remain and only essential businesses to open
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 07/05/2021
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [image: file]

There will be no lockdown for Suva this weekend.

This has been confirmed to fijivillage by Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Doctor Fong says they will strictly enforce the COVID safety guidelines and people will be arrested if they do not follow the measures.

Only essential businesses can open in the country.

The containment areas in Suva, Lami, Nausori, Ra, Nadi and Lautoka remain.

Curfew hours nationwide remain from 11pm to 4am daily.

Contact tracing, screening and testing is underway in many parts of Viti Levu today as the Health Ministry tries to establish the source points of different COVID-19 cases in the community.

Police are also on the ground ensuring that people are following the gazetted COVID guidelines.

Please stay home and avoid unnecessary movement.

Doctor Fong stresses that when you move, the virus moves.

Police have stressed for people to wear their mask at all times and be reminded to maintain the 2 metres distancing as issued by the Ministry of Health.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says anyone not following the two metres distancing inside or outside the supermarket in any containment area will be arrested.

Tudravu says officers will closely be monitoring businesses and all employees and customers to wear face coverings to enter their premises.

He says it is also vital for every driver of a Public Service Vehicle and the travelling passengers who are 5 years of age or older to wear masks and bus and minibus drivers are to ensure that all passengers in the bus and minibus are physically distanced from each other.



Divisional Commissioners are now identifying non-school isolation facilities - Seruiratu

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 07/05/2021
Minister for Defence and National Security Inia Seruiratu

Minister for Defence and National Security Inia Seruiratu says Divisional Commissioners are now identifying non-school facilities that can be used as community isolation centres.

Currently, some schools have been prepared as community isolation facilities however Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong had highlighted earlier in the week that as they shift into the next phase of containment, they are prioritising non-school isolation facilities so that, once it’s safe, they are ready to resume classes.

Seruiratu says there are a lot of other facilities available like community halls and small hotels that can be used as community isolation facilities.

When questioned by when schools are expected to be cleared, Seruiratu says the sooner the better however it will take time to make arrangements and get other facilities ready.

There are 13 community isolation facilities that remain open and are currently occupied by COVID-19 positive patients.

Meanwhile, Fong says in consultation with the Ministry of Education, they are considering re-opening the schools on 24th May this year but that judgement depends entirely on Fiji’s COVID situation at that time.



15-yr-old arrested for crossing the Nadi containment area on horseback

By Shanil Singh
Friday 07/05/2021
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

A 15-year-old boy from Nabitu in Sigatoka was arrested after he crossed the Nadi containment area using a short-cut on horseback while a 58-year-old taxi driver was found carrying four passengers and breached the 50 percent capacity in the process.

63 people have been arrested in the last 24 hours for breaching health restrictions and curfew orders.

Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu says 57 cases were recorded in the Southern Division where 6 people were arrested for drinking grog in Wailea Settlement in Vatuwaqa, 7 were found drinking alcohol in Veisida, Nasinu while a 41-year-old fisherman was found loitering along Sukanaivalu Road in Nabua during curfew hours.

Tudravu says three people were found gambling at the Laqere Market while a 39-year-old man was found walking along Reba Circle in Nadera during curfew hours.

He says 5 men were found intoxicated in Veiraisi Settlement in Nadera, 6 people were found drinking grog in Kinoya while 5 others were found sitting together along Velau Drive.

Two people were arrested for drinking alcohol in Delainavesi, 3 men were found drunk at Lami High School while a 35-year-old taxi driver was found driving without a valid pass in Naidiri Settlement.



The death of the first locally transmitted COVID-19 patient reminds us all of the real, grave impact this virus can have – Dr Ali

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 07/05/2021
Acting Representative of WHO in the South Pacific, Doctor Akeem Ali.

Acting Representative of WHO in the South Pacific, Doctor Akeem Ali says the death of the first locally transmitted COVID-19 patient reminds us all of the real, grave impact this virus can have on individuals, families, communities and the country at large.

He says what this means for us is that there is a challenge to continue to provide essential health and other services in the country and they must really address this very serious public health emergency.

Dr. Ali says Fiji is going in the right direction to try and stamp this virus out and stop the spread any further.

He says there are some tough choices Fiji needs to make right now and they stand behind the Ministry of Health, the government and all partners working tirelessly to contain the virus.

Dr. Ali adds that the quickest way out of this is what we do as individuals, as a community, as families and we all need to play our part where the very simple message remains - stay at home, you have to stop the virus from moving with you or anyone else.


Sat 8th May


FEMAT Field Hospitals anticipated to be operational today - Dr. Tudravu

Kamikamica Health Centre temporarily closed for decontamination
By Naveel Krishant, Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
A team worked late into the night yesterday to set up the FEMAT tent in Lautoka. [image: NDMO/Facebook]

The Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says they anticipate the Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team Field Hospitals at the old Government Supplies building in Natokowaqa and Nadovu Park in Lautoka to be operational today.

These hospitals will link with other health facilities in Lautoka, Nadi and Ba hospitals.

A team from the office of the Commissioner Western worked late into the night yesterday to set-up the FEMAT tent in Lautoka.

He further says the Kamikamica Health Centre in Lautoka is temporarily closed for decontamination adding that the Punjas Health Centre is now operational for 24 hours while the Viseisei Health Centre is also operational.

Doctor Tudravu highlighted that the FEMAT Teams are on standby to help the Punjas Health Centre.

He says the Viseisei Health Centre continues to care for pregnant mothers and from Thursday to yesterday they delivered 10 babies.

He has reminded people who go to the health centres that they will be swabbed.

Doctor Tudravu says the Raiwaqa Health Centre will be decontaminated and they expect to re-open it by tomorrow.

[Images: Dr. Waqainabete/Twitter]



Mokani village COVID-19 screening team assisting villagers affected by the recent COVID-19 restrictions

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 08/05/2021
fiji

The Mokani village COVID-19 screening team have been conducting a food drive to assist villagers who have been severely affected by the recent COVID-19 restrictions.

They have been able to assist four families who have been told by the Health Ministry to self-isolate at home.

The team has also assisted five widows who are living by themselves and are unable to access food and other essentials due to the restrictions.

The donations are from the Mokani community members locally and overseas.

Mokani village in Tailevu is one of the many villages that have set up a screening station at the village entry point.

We have also seen some communities in Suva implementing this to assist in the government's fight against COVID-19.

Community members in Nepani settlement in Nasinu have come together to set-up a screening entry point.

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Not anyone can cross the border, only those stuck in one containment area and are intending to return home - Acting COMPOL

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
Suva containment area border at the Tamavua-I-Wai Bridge.

The Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu is stressing that they will only facilitate the movement of those stuck in one containment area and are intending to return to their homes.

The Health Ministry has announced that those on Viti Levu who are currently outside of the containment area they live in will be allowed to return to their homes from 4am today to 11pm tomorrow.

This includes those who are stuck in one containment area but who need to move to another containment area in which they reside and those in a non-containment area who need to move into a containment area.

The Acting Police Commissioner says a lot of rumours are swirling around that anyone can cross the border however all Fijians are to be reminded that only those displaced from their homes when the containment areas were set up across the country and are intending to go back to their places will be facilitated.

He says no unnecessary movement will be allowed.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says this is a window for one-way travel only.

Those who enter a new containment area will not be allowed to leave until such time that the containment area borders relax.

Doctor Fong says as you travel, police will be taking contact tracing information at each border point to assist should you be considered a person of interest.

He says he knows there are some people within a containment area who are looking to move to a non-containment area.

For those, the Permanent Secretary says they will work out separate dates for you.

Please note that these movements, once approved, will be limited to Viti Levu.

There are currently six containment areas across Viti Levu: Nadi, Lautoka, Rakiraki, Nausori, Suva and Lami.




People will be taken to task if they make a stopover when they are moving from containment area or from non-containment areas to a containment area

By Vijay Narayan, Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: Fiji Police]

People will face the full brunt of the law if they are caught not following the COVID-19 guidelines when moving from one containment area to another containment area or moving from a non-containment area to a containment area.

This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong while responding to a question on what measures are in place to look at the risk involved with people crossing containment areas.

Dr Fong says contact tracing details for every person moving will be taken at the border, and if they find that any person made a stopover, they will be taken to task.

The Permanent Secretary had highlighted during his press conference that from 4am today until 11pm tomorrow, those on Viti Levu who are currently outside of the containment area they live in will be allowed to return to their homes.

This includes those who are stuck in one containment area but who need to move to another containment area in which they reside and those in a non-containment area who need to move into a containment area.

He says it will be a one-way travel only and those who enter a new containment area will not be allowed to leave until such time that the containment area borders relax.

Police will be taking contact tracing information at each border point to assist should you be considered a person of interest.

There are 6 Containment Area in Viti Levu which is Lautoka, Nadi, Lami, Suva, Nausori and Ra.




Length of containment areas is a day to day basis investigation – Dr Fong

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 08/05/2021
Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong.

The Health Ministry decides on the length of each containment area on a day to day basis.

This was stressed by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong while responding to a question whether they will be extending or ending the containment areas for Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka since the 14-days comes to an end at 4am Monday.

Dr Fong says he still has the weekend to decide and how many more cases will be identified.

He says they can see their fever clinics are working and they are beginning to get a better picture of what kind of workload they have.

He adds depending on the shape of the fight they have, the duration of containment can lengthen or it can be shortened.



Highly-controlled movement into Viti Levu’s six containment areas will be allowed in private vehicles, taxis and pre-selected buses that operate at half capacity

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
Suva Containment area border at the Nakasi Bridge.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that highly-controlled movement into Viti Levu’s six containment areas will be permitted in private vehicles, taxis and pre-selected buses that operate at half capacity.

It says minibuses will not be allowed to travel across containment area borders.

It is being stressed by the Ministry that all drivers and travellers must wear masks and have the careFIJI contact tracing application installed with Bluetooth turned on.

The Health Ministry says drivers who enter a containment area must drive directly to the place of residence for the traveller, and return to the containment area border once the trip is complete.

It adds that this is one-way travel exclusively available to those who are currently stuck outside of the containment area in which they reside.

The Ministry says this is not a mechanism to allow travel for funerals or other events.

Those who move into a containment area must stay there.

One-way movement will be allowed for individuals in non-containment areas travelling into containment areas as well as individuals residing in one containment area who need to move to another.

The Ministry stresses that movement from containment areas into non-containment areas, however, is not allowed at this time.




Police arrest 2 men for not wearing masks and 4 non-essential business operators for breaching health restrictions

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: Fiji Police]

Two men in the Central Division were arrested for not wearing masks while four non-essential business operators were also arrested for breaching health restrictions in Lautoka in the last 24 hours.

Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu says fifty people were arrested over the last 24-hours for breaching the health restrictions and curfew orders.

The Western Division recorded fourteen cases including five people who were arrested for drinking grog at Tonuve Village in Keiyasi, two 17-year-old teenagers were found drinking at the Saru area in Lautoka while three men breached the curfew in the Navakai, Dratabu and Lautoka areas.

Of the nineteen cases recorded in the Southern Division, six people were found drunk at Raiwai, three others at Naidiridiri Settlement in Nasinu while six people of Cunningham were arrested for a social gathering.

A 26-year-old carpenter was found drunk along the Nanuku area in Vatuwaqa.

Two market vendors were found loitering during curfew hours at the Rewa Dairy roundabout in Nabua while a 30-year-old security officer was found walking along the Laqere Bridge in Nasinu.

The Northern Division recorded three cases including a 34-year-old salesman of Naodamu who was found drunk during curfew hours while two farmers in their 20’s were found loitering along the Delailabasa area.

12 people were arrested in the Eastern Division and this includes five people of Navuloa in Nakasi who were arrested for a social gathering.

This also includes a juvenile.

Seven people, including a teacher were also found drunk in Korovou Town.



None of Fiji's 37 active COVID-19 cases have severe illness

No new cases of COVID-19 recorded today
By Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: File]

- Doctor Fong says they have no new cases of COVID-19 in Fiji to confirm today.

- This has been confirmed after another 2,206 tests.

- There are currently 37 active COVID-19 cases in the country.

- None of them have severe illness.

- Dr Fong says their contact tracers have spent the last 24 hrs working on the travel history of the 7 cases announced yesterday.

- 15 contacts of the nurse from the Raiwaqa Health Centre have been identified through the careFIJI app.

- Dr Fong says this is yet another reminder that the careFIJI app works.

- As a result of the contact tracing investigation for case 128, the Ministry is asking anyone who attended the Maternal and Child Health Clinic at Raiwaqa Health Centre from April 21st to April 23rd, April 29th to April 30th and May 3rd to May 5th to remain at home and contact 158.

- Dr Fong says they know that rest of the staff at the Raiwaqa Health Centre have tested negative so far and the nurse was wearing a mask at work but those that attended that clinic should still call 158.

- There maybe a need to cordon off certain neighbourhoods and communities as screening zones but so far their testing has not pushed any specific areas past the risk threshold to trigger a lockdown.

- Dr  Fong is disappointed that they have already seen people moving from containment zones into non-containment zones.

- This was explicitly forbidden and they are already tracking these people as best as they can.

- It is vital that all these people self-isolate immediately - Dr Fong.

- Of the 37 COVID-19 cases in isolation facilities, 8 are border quarantine cases and 23 are locally transmitted cases.

- 12 patients have recovered.

- 6 cases of COVID-19 are still under investigation to determine the source of transmission




Stay at home and call 158 if you were at the Raiwaqa Health Centre on April 21st-23rd, April 29th- 30th & May 3rd-5th

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: File]

If you attended the Maternal and Child Health Clinic at Raiwaqa Health Centre from April 21st to April 23rd, April 29th to April 30th and May 3rd to May 5th remain at home and contact 158.

This has been stressed by the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong as contact tracing continues for the nurse from the Raiwaqa Health Centre who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Doctor Fong says they know that the rest of the staff in the health centre have tested negative so far, and the nurse was wearing a mask while at work, however, they need anyone who attended the Maternal and Child Health Clinic on those days to call 158.




12 COVID-19 patients have now recovered

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 08/05/2021
Ministry of Health's Head of Health Protection, Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan. [image: Fijian Government]

Ministry of Health's Head of Health Protection, Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan has confirmed that 12 COVID-19 patients have now recovered.

She says this leaves 37 active cases remaining in isolation facilities.

Of these 37 cases, 8 are border quarantine cases, 23 are of local transmission and 6 are still under investigation to determine the source of transmission.

Dr. Sahukhan says Fiji has had 136 cases in total with 96 recoveries now, and three deaths since our first case was detected on March 19th, 2020.

A total of 63,609, COVID-19 tests have been conducted with a daily average of 16,153 tests per day over the last seven days while 2,206 tests conducted yesterday.



15 contacts of Raiwaqa Health Centre nurse identified through careFIJI app

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: File]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says 15 contacts of the nurse from the Raiwaqa Health Centre have been identified through the careFIJI app.

He says their contact tracers have spent the past 24 hours working through the travel histories of their seven cases announced yesterday.

Dr Fonh says the nurse from Raiwaqa Health Centre had her careFIJI app downloaded and activated.

He says this is another reminder that the app works, and is an important tool in our fight against the virus.

Please download the careFiji app and keep your bluetooth on.



People who moved from containment zones into non-containment zones today will need to self-isolate immediately

By Rashika Kumar
Saturday 08/05/2021
Suva Containment area border at the Nakasi Bridge.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says people who have moved from containment zones into non-containment zones today will need to self-isolate themselves immediately.

He says they are tracking these people as best as they can.

Fong says they had made an accommodation yesterday to allow people on Viti Levu who needed to return to their homes to enter containment areas but they have seen a dangerous abuse of this policy from this morning.

The Permanent Secretary says they have seen one life lost to this outbreak but still, some people are not taking this situation seriously enough.

He has stressed that tightly-controlled movement is allowed so that Fijians can return home if, and only if, they reside in a containment area.

Fong says no other reason for cross-border travel into containment areas is allowed, including for cleaning services, a request they actually received multiple times.

He says he cannot believe some people have the audacity to ask the Ministry about this.




Buses to be provided today for people leaving a containment area

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 08/05/2021
[image: File]

The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport will be providing transportation for those people who wish to leave a containment area to travel to another containment area today.

This was highlighted by the Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu who says there are some requirements and criteria which will be needed to be fulfilled by the people.

He says the buses will operate at 50% capacity to allow for full physical distancing and there will be a limitation of movement inside the bus.

Dr Tudravu says a police officer will be boarding the bus as well and accompanying the bus for the whole journey to ensure that there is no unauthorised stop along the way, and in particular in areas.


He says the buses will be allowed to pick up passengers on their way back from one containment area to another.

He adds the bus driver and passengers are expected to have downloaded the careFIJI app and should be switched on for the whole duration of the trip and this will be checked prior to boarding the bus.

People can access the exact time, and the movement of the buses, company names and where the buses are leaving from the bus station on the Fijian Government website and Facebook page.




FEMAT Field Hospitals to be operational today - Dr Tudravu

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 09/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu.

The Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says the Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team Field Hospitals at the old Government Supplies building in Natokowaqa and Nadovu Park in Lautoka will be operational from today.

Dr Tudravu says their medical teams are providing support and are on standby at the Punjas Health Centre and other facilities that are providing services to the people.

He says Punjas Health Centre will be providing 24-hours general outpatient services supported by their FEMAT Team and Viseisei Health Centre will be providing services for pregnant mothers.




Sun 9th May


FEMAT Field Hospitals to be operational today - Dr Tudravu

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 09/05/2021
Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu.

The Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says the Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team Field Hospitals at the old Government Supplies building in Natokowaqa and Nadovu Park in Lautoka will be operational from today.

Dr Tudravu says their medical teams are providing support and are on standby at the Punjas Health Centre and other facilities that are providing services to the people.

He says Punjas Health Centre will be providing 24-hours general outpatient services supported by their FEMAT Team and Viseisei Health Centre will be providing services for pregnant mothers.




88% of target population in Raiwaqa screened - Dr Tudravu

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 09/05/2021
Screening team in Raiwaqa on Friday, 07th May, 2021.

88% of the Health Ministry’s target population in Raiwaqa have been screened so far.

Health Ministry’s Chief Medical Advisor Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says 39 individuals are in their four community isolation facilities cared for by the Ministry of Health staff as well as the Republic of Fiji Military Forces who are providing security.

He says in the last 24-hours, the 57 operating stationary screening clinics around the country have screened 4,119 individuals and undertaken 528 swabbings which brings the total number of people screened to 48,873 and 7,956 swabbings.

Dr Tudravu says their mobile screening clinics also continue to operate in the Western and Central Divisions where they screened 26,192 individuals and swabbed 614 people.




My teams are stretched very thin at the moment - Doctor Fong

Nothing kills this virus faster than when a person simply stays at home
By Semi Turaga
Sunday 09/05/2021
[image: File]

Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says his teams are stretched very thin at the moment.

He says even if they all had every hour of the day available, that is still not enough time to send them into every home and community to make doubly sure the COVID-safe measures are being enforced.

He says we wear masks because covering our mouths and noses can impede the virus from spreading.

Doctor Fong stresses masks work best when everyone wears them, and when we still practice good physical distancing.

He says, even so, masks do not make the spread impossible, only less likely.

The Permanent Secretary adds handwashing, as well, is a good habit that kills the virus before it infects you.

He says if you don’t move, the virus cannot move and that is the very reason they enter COVID-positive patients into isolation.

Doctor Fong says they isolate them, they isolate the virus and they stop it from transmitting further.

He stresses that nothing kills this virus faster than when a person simply stays at home




Over 21,000 families in Nadi and Lautoka assisted through the government’s $90 cash assistance

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 09/05/2021
Acting Permanent Secretary for Economy Shiri Gounder. [image: file]

21,657 families in the Nadi and Lautoka containment areas have been assisted with the $90 government assistance.

The government has topped up their MPAiSA and MyCash accounts.

A government statement says this is a total payout of around $2 million.

The Acting Permanent Secretary for Economy, Shiri Gounder confirmed that a total of 27,313 applications have been assessed so far from the Nadi and Lautoka containment areas since applications opened on Thursday.

He says out of this, 5,656 app