21 Apr 2021

Third Covid-19 community case in Fiji

8:18 pm on 21 April 2021

A third community case of Covid-19 has been reported by health authorities in Fiji.

Health checks are ongoing in Fiji in an effort to combat Covid-19.

Health checks are ongoing in Fiji in an effort to combat Covid-19. Photo: Facebook / Fiji government

The case is a woman from Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham, in outer northern Suva.

She had attended a funeral in Lautoka last week along with a mother and her daughter who became Fiji's first Covid-19 community cases in more than a year, and over five hundred other people.

The Permanent Secretary of Health, Dr James Fong, said the woman's family members had been taken to the Navua hospital isolation unit. The Fiji Times quotes him saying the family members have so far tested negative.

Meanwhile, Wainitarawau Settlement is now a contained area. Residents are being allowed back in but no one is allowed to leave for the next 14 days.

Fiji's government on Monday announced a lockdown in the west of the main island Viti Levu after the first community case tested positive.

With today's confirmation of a third new case, more measures have been ordered by government.

There's to be no travel in and out of the country unless for medical trips. Furthermore, travel between the main island Viti Levu and the outer islands of the country is now prohibited.

Fijian authorities have also shut down businesses which require public interaction. The new measures will last 14 days.

Superspreader event

Fears that hundreds of people could have picked up the virus at the funeral are behind a massive house-to-house screening campaign in Fiji's western towns and villages.

Taraivini Kabuta, Nadi Branch Red Cross volunteer shares a message about COVID-19 transmissions through a window to a family in Uciwai Settlement, Nadi.

Taraivini Kabuta, Nadi Branch Red Cross volunteer shares a message about Covid-19 transmission through a window to a family in Uciwai Settlement, Nadi Photo: Fiji Red Cross

Health authorities have described the weekend funeral as a potential super spreader event after the person who is the central community case was found to have been in attendance.

A maid at a hotel being used as a quarantine facility, the woman contracted the virus from a male soldier who authorities now believe had contracted Covid-19 while handling the baggage of two Fijian nationals who returned from India on 10 April.

The maid and her daughter, who has also tested positive, travelled from Nadi to the Lautoka suburb of Tavakubu to attend the funeral, potentially exposing hundreds of others to the virus, including people they were in contact with in transit.

Calling the funeral a 'potential superspreader event', Dr Fong said, "together, these two patients represent the highest-risk cases Fiji has ever contended with".

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