16 Jun 2021

NZ retirement home workers helping send supplies home to Fiji

1:31 pm on 16 June 2021

A group of New Zealand retirement village workers are helping Fijian families affected by Covid-19.

Aruna Prakash (third from left front), and Edmund Hillary Retirement Village workers, who are sending supplies to Covid-19 stricken Fiji.

Aruna Prakash (third from left front) and Edmund Hillary Retirement Village workers who are sending supplies to Covid-19 stricken Fiji. Photo: Supplied/Ryman Healthcare

Fiji recorded 116 new cases in the latest update on Tuesday, and health authorities have confirmed staff at the country's main hospital are infected.

Caregiver Aruna Prakash - along with 20 of her Fijian colleagues at Auckland's Edmund Hillary Retirement Village in Remuera - are sending money and food parcels to the Pacific nation.

She said many families were struggling to buy food, including her own.

"It's very hard for them because they lost their jobs because most of the shops are closed, so they are starving for food. We have tried to help them out whenever we can.

"They have so many cases there now, and they don't have very many masks," Prakash said.

Dining assistant Anita Dayal said everyone was worried about their families back home.

"Some of them are just surviving on biscuits or tea. The NGOs are helping them wherever they can but it's too much for them I think," Dayal said.

Prakash had also recruited her employee Ryman Healthcare for help, which sent 10,000 masks, worth $20,000, to Fiji.

"They arrived the next day. I was so surprised and so grateful," Prakash said.

Edmund Hillary Retirement Village, in Remuera

Edmund Hillary Retirement Village, in Remuera Photo: Supplied

Ryman group chief executive Gordon MacLeod said the Covid-19 situation in Fiji was concerning and Ryman was happy to help.

"We were pleased that Aruna came to us for help and we were more than happy to lend a hand.

"We have a number of Fijian team members and we know how concerned they are about the people back home," MacLeod said.

Spread of Delta variant in Fiji

Authorities yesterday reported the fifth death from Covid-19 yesterday.

Another seven have died with pre-existing conditions while infected with the disease, and 943 people with the virus are being isolated.

The country is battling the Delta variant, which has a higher transmission rate than earlier variants, and has already swept through India and the UK.

"Daily case numbers are expected to increase further," the update from Tuesday's Ministry of Health statement said. "With the rising case numbers, the risk of an increase in severe cases is high but there are contingency measures in place to respond accordingly."

The Fijian government has asked for assistance from Australia, who are sending a medical assistance planning team, to help put measures in place in case of an even larger surge in cases. This could include field hospitals and extra critical care capacity.

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