21 Apr 2020

Fiji PM announces new Covid-19 case, total now 18

4:36 am on 21 April 2020

Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama today announced the country's 18th case of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the latest case is a 51-year-old woman from Ba who had returned from the United States on 22 March.

Fiji's PM, Frank Bainmarama gives the a Covid-19 update, with Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho behind him

Fiji's PM, Frank Bainmarama gives the a Covid-19 update, with Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho behind him Photo: Fiji Govt

Mr Bainimarama said the woman was among 123 people tested between Friday and today but her test returned a "soft positive" result.

He said this meant the government couldn't confirm the result and the prime minister said after further testing and consultations with its reference laboratory in Melbourne, it was found the sample came from someone in the final stages of recovery from the virus.

He said the woman had completed 14 days of home isolation and she was cleared.

"Only later did she develop Covid-like symptoms. The results of her test make it likely that she has been carrying the virus for weeks."

Mr Bainimarama said the woman shared a home with three other people and they had all tested negative for the virus.

But he said the family members have been placed in isolation.

"We have traced and identified her other casual contacts and they have all been entered into compulsory home quarantine."

Fiji police man checkpoints into Suva

Fiji police man checkpoints into Suva Photo: Fiji police

The prime minister said despite Ba recording its first case of the coronavirus, the town would not be locked down.

But he said mobile teams would conduct screening of the entire province.

"If we don't see sufficient numbers from these screenings, Ba will risk a total lockdown."

Last week, the government extended the quarantine period from 14 days to 28 days.