30 Jun 2021

Covid-19: Fiji braces for new wave of infections

3:50 pm on 30 June 2021

Health authorities in Fiji are bracing for a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

This comes after more four deaths and 312 cases were confirmed on Tuesday.

Health Secretary James Fong said the steady increase in average daily case numbers combined with other indicators suggests there will be more infections, hospitalisations and deaths in the coming weeks.

He says this will particularly be seen in the central and western divisions of the main island Viti Levu.

Fong says the daily average of new covid cases now stands at 269.

Fiji health officials Dr Aalisha SahuKhan, left, and Dr James Fong.

Fiji health officials Dr Aalisha SahuKhan, left, and Dr James Fong. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

Yet the government is refusing to enforce a national lockdown with the prime minister Frank Bainimarama saying it would cripple the economy.

Fong said there had also been a notable increase in positive patients with severe disease, as well as an increase in deaths.

"Until more Fijians are protected through vaccination, there are important steps that must be taken to strengthen our capacity to identify and treat those most vulnerable to the severe disease and death due to the coronavirus, including efforts to raise public awareness of covid-like symptoms," Dr Fong said.

"The symptoms of Covid-19 may start mild, with runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, fever, headache, bodyache, or diarrhoea.

"However, for some people this could quickly worsen into severe covid."

Fong said severe Covid-19 is a medical emergency and the symptoms include difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, severe headache for a few days, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake; and pale, grey or blue-coloured skin, lips or nail beds.

The Health Ministry said a total of 5186 individuals were screened and 957 swabbed at its stationary screening clinics in the last 24 hours ending at 8am on Tuesday.

"And that now means a total of 216,660 individuals have been screened and 28,555 swabbed to date," Fong said.

He added mobile screening teams had screened a total of 1658 individuals and 353 individuals swabbed in the same period.

He said this brought the cumulative total to 661,584 individuals screened and 53,587 swabbed by the mobile teams to date.

"A total of 154,009 samples have been tested since this outbreak started in April 2021, with 196,870 tested since testing began in early 2020," Fong said.

He said the national seven-day daily test average is 3026.

Fiji now has 3306 active cases in isolation with 21 deaths reported - 19 from this latest outbreak which started in April.