1 Jun 2021

Fiji doctors quarantined after clinic staff tests positive for Covid-19

6:31 pm on 1 June 2021

A group of at least 10 doctors at a private medical facility in Fiji are in quarantine after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.

The Health Ministry said this afternoon the doctors and a staff member, all of Zen Medical Centre in Nadi, were part of a covid training exercise last weekend.

Group of viruses, computer illustration. (Photo by KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRA / KKO / Science Photo Library via AFP)

coronavirus generic

Photo: AFP

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the doctors are being tested for the virus.

He said all privately-owned businesses will need to comply with covid-safe measures.

The Nadi facility was the first to apply to conduct covid testing privately, Fong said.

"We have done site inspection and reviewed their processes and approved.

"Only one person is positive and he is linked to the first case.

"Zen Clinic gang are in quarantine. Zen is now setting up his lab with his own machine which he will operate after they finish quarantine."

At least 10 doctors and an admin staff were part of what Dr Fong explained was "a swab demonstration class done for Zen doctors" last Saturday (May 29).

During the training exercise, the test swab was taken from the staff member who had reportedly shown flu-like symptoms.

"The swab was then went back to our lab in Nadi for testing."

Fong said the swab returned a positive result and all the doctors present at the exercise were called into quarantine.

On the same day, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama announced that two positive cases had been detected after more than 14 days of being Covid-19 free.

Fong said GPs who acquire their own Covid-19 testing machines must consult the ministry on testing protocols.

He said so far only one private GP had applied to conduct COVID19 testing.

On Sunday afternoon, Zen's Medical Centre informed its patients and the public of the incident saying staff had "come in contact with the Covid positive case from Nawaka".

"After meticulous deliberation and consultation with MOH, we have temporarily closed the Nadi Clinic for today," a statement from Zen Medical stated.

"This is to allow the ministry to conduct a risk assessment and thorough decontamination/cleaning of the Nadi centre."

The clinic was given the all-clear to resume operations on Monday.

Dr James Fong.

Dr James Fong. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

The Navy cluster continues to grow.

Three more Fiji navy officers have been confirmed with Covid-19, bringing the total to 26 cases.

The navy cluster continues to register the highest number of cases since the first naval officer was screened at a Ministry of Health outpost in Tamavua, outside the capital Suva last week.

Admin of the navy ship, families and friends of the staff continue to grow that particular cluster.

Of the three new patients, one was from the Extra Supermarket cluster.

The other two are from Nadi, which had been without cases for more than 14 days until last weekend when two residents of Nawaka tested positive.

Fong said they'll set up field hospitals and more quarantine and isolation facilities in response to the new cases.

One of the two was detected from a swab testing training exercise conducted for 10 doctors at a major local private health care facility.

The doctors have since been quarantined at a Ministry of Health quarantine facility.

The majority of new cases are linked to existing clusters, indicating the MOH contact tracing and targeted lockdowns has worked.

However Fong added authorities would continue to escalate community surveillance to find cases outside of known clusters and containment zones.

"There are currently 293 active cases, 17 of these cases are from Nadi, and 276 are within the Lami-Nausori containment zone. We have recorded a total of 464 cases in Fiji since the first case in March of last year, with 394 during the current outbreak," Fong said.