Fiji’s Ministry of Health has recorded two more COVID-19 deaths and 26 new cases.

Since the last update, Fiji has recorded 26 new cases of which 11 new cases were recorded last Saturday, 19 February, three new cases were recorded on Sunday, 20 February 20 and 12 new cases Monday.

Of the 26 cases recorded, 13 cases were in the Central division; four cases were recorded in the Western division, six cases were recorded in the Northern division, and three cases were recorded in the Eastern division.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said Fiji recorded 67 new recoveries and now there are currently 81 active cases.

Dr Fong said many questions have been received on the role of post-infection immunity in defining Fiji COVID-protected population.

He explains that immunity gained through a vaccination programme remains the only means by which the Health Ministry can measure immunity and therefore refine public health measures in the face of the ongoing risk of variant development and therefore future outbreaks.

The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the advisories on post-infection immunity based on quality data that is being generated globally.

Dr Fong said Fiji needs to be wary of efforts to remove all public health measures too soon.

He said that globally there are ongoing risks of variant development and therefore the escalation of the epidemic in Fiji.

Dr Fong said building national resilience to living with COVID 19 is crucial and will require two important strategies from a health program perspective that include a more balanced use of public health measures, and protecting the vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Government warns unvaccinated people in the vaccine-eligible population are 17 times more likely to die if they contract Covid-19 than those that are vaccinated.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said this strongly indicates that many of the unvaccinated deaths were preventable.

He’s urging Fijians to get vaccinated against Covid-19 including the booster shot amid a third wave which began last November.

“I strongly urge anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated now because Covid-19 is here to stay, and Omicron will not be the last variant,” Dr Fong said.

“And if you are vaccinated, but know someone who isn’t, please also encourage them to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.”

The vaccine rollout for children aged 12 to 17 is also underway with 43,241 of them already had both doses.

Fijians who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 are still being refused entry to a number of public spaces.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said this includes houses of worship, sporting venues and high-risk businesses.

“Those who are in charge of these venues, businesses and houses of worship must ensure that they check the vaccine status of all those who enter their premises,” Dr Waqainabete said.

As of 18 February 2022, 93.1 percent of Fiji’s adult population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

More than 800 deaths attributable to Covid-19 have been recorded in Fiji.