Covid cases explode in Fiji

Grocery and essential items are delivered by Fijian army officers to red zone homes in lockdown....
Grocery and essential items are delivered by Fijian army officers to red zone homes in lockdown. Photo: Supplied
More than 300 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in Fiji over the past 24 hours as the current outbreak continues to explode in the community.

Fiji Village News says 308 cases have been confirmed with 297 from the Lami-Nausori Containment Zone. A further 11 are from Tramline Nadi.

Health authorities are regarding the increasing numbers as indicating widespread community transmission and were now tipping the situation to worsen.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services warned citizens that the daily numbers would continue to increase and to expect around 700 cases a day on current trajectory.

"We are working on mathematical modelling with WHO to give us a projection. But if we look at other countries: India at the peak of the outbreak that happened in May went to 280 cases per million population per day, the United Kingdom at the peak of their outbreak were at over 800 per million population per day. Right now we are at 187 cases per million population per day, which is 166 cases per day. If our daily cases rise to a peak similar to the UK, we should expect approx. 700 cases per day at a 7-day average," said the ministry.

It said the country's contact tracing was at capacity in the Lami-Suva-Nausori zone.

However, officials were still continuing to contact trace and implement targeted lockdowns, to try to slow the progress of the outbreak.

But what concerned officials most was the next wave.

"We have just started to see the beginning of that wave now. We reported four new Covid-19 deaths today and we have nine patients currently admitted at CWM Hospital with severe Covid-19, including a previously well 30-year-old."

The ministry said while hospitals weren't presently overwhelmed, if the wave comes and wards are filled with Covid patients, others suffering from severe disease, medical conditions, and accident victims might struggle to get treatment.

To date, the outbreak appears contained to Viti Levu.

In the most recent cases to emerge 12 cases are from new areas of interest that include Goodman Fielder, Gounder Shipping, Nausori Police Barracks and Saint Giles Hospital.

On Wednesday the island nation recorded its highest daily count of 279 cases.

There have been 13 deaths due to Covid, with 11 during the current outbreak.

Fiji health agencies are moving quickly to vaccinate the population, with 262,151 people or 45 per cent of Fijians receiving their first AstraZeneca dose and 27,654 or 5 per cent now fully vaccinated.

Authorities urged people to stay home as much as possible, wear masks, social distance, and use a tracer app.

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