18 May 2021

Four new Covid-19 cases in Fiji as major lockdown about to lift

10:19 pm on 18 May 2021

Four new community cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed by health authorities in Fiji.

They all are from a cluster in the Nadali area of Nausori, near Fiji's capital Suva, a region of the country where a four day lockdown is due to end tomorrow morning.

Suva under lockdown

Suva under lockdown Photo: RNZ Pacific Lice Movono

The new cases bring the number of active cases of Covid-19 in the country to 55. Of these, only four are classified as border cases.

The Health Secretary James Fong announced the new cases tonight, saying that over 2,500 tests for the virus had been conducted in the past day.

"For every hour of the past four days, my teams have combed through Suva and Nausori to trace and test primary and secondary contacts of existing cases of Covid-19," Dr Fong said.

"We found many of the contacts quickly. Others have required more in-depth investigations to find. In total, we have placed 7,888 contacts in Suva and Nausori under quarantine."

The secretary explained that with the high-risk known contacts under quarantine, the government could allow the 24-hour curfew for Suva and Nausori to lift at its scheduled close at 0400 Fiji Time tomorrow morning, allowing for limited movement in a "highly controlled fashion".

Suva and Nausori will again become two separate containment zones, in an effort to restrict movement, and to conduct screening and testing.

Dr Fong said that as is the case for the rest of Viti Levu, the 6pm until 4am curfew will apply.

But while they have acted quickly to contain movement around the capital and to test and trace, authorities fear a significant number of new cases to emerge in coming days.

"We have more than 11,000 swab results yet to be processed. We are triaging our testing - which means we are prioritising the swab results from the highest risk individuals, Fong explained.

"But until we know more, we have 11,000 reasons why we can't rollback more restrictions."

Suva, Fiji, in lockdown, May 2021

Photo: Supplied/ Lice Movono