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After 605 tests, Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has reported five new cases of COVID-19 infections Thursday.
Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong said the first two cases are close household contacts of previously announced cases and they had tested positive while secure in quarantine facilities.
Dr Fong said the third case is a former border quarantine passenger who arrived from Papua New Guinea into Nadi on Friday, 09 April.
He said that passenger had contact with the soldier – the husband of the 29-year-old woman in Makoi – on the day of his discharge from the Tanoa quarantine facility.
The fourth case is a 68-year-old man in Rakiraki, and the fifth case is a border quarantine case, a Tongan national who came from Guyana through Auckland.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has expressed concern with a case from Vunimono in Nausori – a 52-year-old woman who works in a garment factory located at the Kalabu tax free zone.
The woman is one of two cases from Vunimono who are close household contacts of previously announced cases and they had tested positive while secure in quarantine.
The other is a 25-year-old wife of the case from the Makoi cluster who had travelled to Vunimono.
Dr Fong said the woman’s place of work had been shut down since the national restrictions were announced on Monday.
He said contact tracing for the new cases was conducted overnight.
“… We are screening everyone she’s (52-year-old Vunimono case) worked with while she may have been contagious,” Dr Fong said.
“We have contacted the management of the factory she worked in, and the factory next door, and these managers have agreed to work together with us to ensure that their workers are urgently screened.
“Our plan tonight (Thursday) is to have my teams go house-to-house and swab as many of them as possible – at least 80 per cent if we can.
“As that investigation progresses, the same principles as always apply – health restrictions may expand or become more stringent lockdown measures, and that could start as soon as tomorrow(this) evening.”
“These latest cases and existing unknowns point to widespread transmission in the community. We believe we may be in the early part of a very fast-rising upward curve in case numbers. Most Fijians are already taking this threat seriously. You have our thanks. But “most of us” is not enough.
“Every Fijian must act responsibly, wash your hands often and stay at home. We still have too much movement among the public. Please stay at home, stay still. If there’s one measure that matters more than any, it is that: Stay Home. It is where all of us are safest. And if there is one message I ask everyone watching to help us spread, it is to encourage others to stay home,” he emphasised.
Dr Fong said their mass public screening is benefitting from people staying at home.
“We’ve completed the first round of screening in Narere and Cunningham, and have screened over 95% of target populations in Wainivula, Caubati, Tacirua and Makoi, with 144,747 people screened across Viti Levu and many more thousands to go. These screenings do work, especially at identifying high-risk contagious cases of COVID-19 -- but just because you have been screened doesn’t mean you are clear to flaunt any of our restrictions.
“Screening is different from testing, and it is far from as effective as a proper 14 days in quarantine. That is why we will be screening high-risk areas multiple times, as someone screened once may well become a viral carrier days later,” said Dr Fong....
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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