Last Updated on 16 hours by Publishing Team
The 7-day average of new cases per day is 46 cases per day or 52 cases per million population per day. As previously announced by the Permanent Secretary, the daily case numbers are currently not being used as the sole indicator to monitor the progress of the outbreak. The Ministry continues monitoring other indicators such as test positivity, hospitalisations, and deaths to track the progress of the outbreak, and it is noted that there is a downward trend across all indicators of the COVID-19 epidemic in Fiji.
With the reduction in testing numbers, which is above the WHO recommended rate of 4 tests per 1,000 population per week (or approx. 3,500 tests per week), we will transition to community surveillance testing as severe disease numbers and positivity rates approach the containment phase levels.
The overall indications of the cases, hospitalization, and deaths data indicate a positive response to our overall COVID response with the epidemic in the west having a lower and delayed disease peak and lower cumulative numbers.
COVID-19 will be endemic in Fiji
Going forward, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services public health team will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission and disease; and intervene when cases cross above acceptable levels. It is expected that in the short to medium term, unknown chains of transmission will persist in parts of Fiji and may not be picked up by our routine community surveillance program. They will only be revealed when an outbreak is big enough to be visible. Therefore, having no cases reported does not necessarily mean that the virus has been eliminated, it implies that the spread of the virus has been successfully contained. Further to community surveillance, remodeling health service provision is also a key strategy in our response.
The public is further reminded that while we have instigated several mandatory and punitive measures to promote adherence to COVID safe measures, public engagement and compliance remains the main determining factor to preventing further transmission and preventing the need for severe restrictions and lockdown.
As such whilst we are doing well with steady reductions in disease cases, admissions, severe disease, and death, this is a time for cautious reassurance and optimism.
Disease Surveillance for Maritime Communities
The indications from the Maritime islands that were affected by COVID-19 is that the situation is now under control. The Malolo and Yasawa community engagement initiative continues for another 10 days with civil servants from different Ministries helping to facilitate containment and vaccination efforts. The Ministry is currently surveying other maritime communities and islands close to those maritime islands that are reporting cases of COVID-19. So far we have no report of outbreaks in other islands.
Local Repatriation Protocol
The Fiji Day announcements made on Sunday 10th October 2021, have indicated 2 major changes to the local repatriation protocol from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu.
- The period of movement restriction within the quarantine program is now reduced to 7 days
- The option for home quarantine will be made more available
Please note that this means that we still have a quarantine process in place that needs to be adhered to. To facilitate the oversight and testing logistics of this quarantine protocol, individuals traveling to the northern division are required to obtain a Repatriation Pass. This means that all repatriation travelers must be registered and issued with a Registration Reference Number for Domestic Repatriation. The registered applicants are those who have been registered for domestic repatriation on the toll-free number 163, MCTTT Facebook Page, or via email on email@example.com. Travelers must obtain a Pass before purchasing their tickets to travel and board a vessel or aircraft. All passes will be issued by MHMS through the Office of the Commissioners (Central and Eastern Divisions). Further inquiries on how to obtain a Repatriation Pass can be made on the toll-free number 158 COVID helpline, the contact number 3475190 which will be active from 8 am to 9 pm daily, or through the emails firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.