COVID-19 Update : 4pm
Monday May 24th 2021
We have recorded five new cases since the last update yesterday evening. Four of these cases are in Muanikoso–from 2 separate households. They were all located within the Muanikoso Containment Zone, and were picked up as part of the mass screening currently ongoing in that area.
The other case is from Samabula and is an employee of a catering group that was providing food after a funeral gathering held at the Samabula cluster household. This person was a close contact of a case from that cluster.
There are now 97 active cases in isolation with the total number of cases recorded in Fiji since our first case in March 2020 now at 235.
Our recent experience tells us that other than within households, this virus has been spreading most commonly within workplaces and during social gatherings. Particularly workplaces with large numbers of staff, like supermarkets, are at high risk for spread of the infection.
We are urging all workplaces, including supermarkets and other commercial establishments to review your procedures and make sure you are complying with the protocols we have established to eliminate spread. Commercial establishments and operators of public transport vehicles must enforce limits on capacity, enforce masking requirements, be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, ensure staff do not work if they are sick, and make sure all employees comply and also enforce these procedures. And everyone must download the careFiji app. The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport will work with commercial business owners–particularly supermarkets–and the transport industry to make sure that everyone understands the practices they must follow.
We have also seen evidence that people have traveled on public transport or done shopping despite experiencing symptoms. We all must take individual responsibility for stopping the spread of this virus. Everyone should recognize the symptoms by now. The typical symptoms of COVID-19 include fatigue, fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, or a sudden loss of taste or smell.
If you experience ANY of these symptoms–even one, and even if it is very mild–you must be screened immediately. Go to the nearest mobile screening centre, wearing a mask and maintaining two metres physical distance between you and any other person you encounter. If you do not know where the nearest screening centre is located, call 158 and ask. Do not use public transport if you have any symptoms. If you cannot get to a screening centre, again, call 158 for assistance.
It is very important for everyone who experiences any of these symptoms to assume that they have contracted the virus. Do not assume that it’s nothing and just hope for the best. The responsible act is to assume the worst and act with extreme caution.
Testing and Screening Update
We are particularly concerned about settlements where people live in close proximity to each other, and we want to keep them free of infection, so we will now increase our swabbing within a settlement where there are known cases.
Results from 7,000 backlogged swab samples sent to Australia for testing have been received. All were negative except for one inconclusive sample from Lautoka that will be retested. The high number of negative results is not unexpected as the majority of samples that were backlogged, and then shipped to Australia in this batch of 7,000, were from outside the containment areas, including a large number of samples from the Northern Division. We are awaiting results from another 4,000 swab samples undergoing testing in Australia. The majority of samples in this second batch are from the containment areas of Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka.
We have now conducted 576,050 screenings and 24,855 swabbings with our community mobile screening program, in addition to the health facility, fixed screening clinics and the contact tracing screenings conducted for positive cases.