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Fiji's Health Ministry will continue to treat the main island of Viti Levu as an infected zone until there are no more cases picked up by the screening clinics, which are their major armor in the battle against the B1617 variant of COVID-19.
This comes as a 53-year old caretaker of the Ra Provincial Office tested positive, and there is no clear indication of how he may have got the virus. Health officials are conducting contact tracing to see if he is linked with any of the recent cases.
Health Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong said officials are working on finding the source of his infection.
The Fiji Police Force has established Naiserelagi Village, Nanukuloa Village and Dokonavatu in Ra Province as containment zones.
“He showed symptoms of COVID and in his case these were body aches when he visited Nanukuloa Health Centre on the 24 April. He has been moved securely to the isolation unit at the Lautoka Hospital as per our standard operating procedure.”
“There are others out there who may have been in contact with this individual. We need all Fijians living in the Rakiraki area to be alert of any potential COVID-19 symptoms and if they are feeling unwell, follow this man’s example.”
He said this is of concern and the entire Viti Levu is under distress.
“I have to assume that we have got exposure all over Viti Levu. It’s one of the reasons we have decided to set up screening clinics all over Viti Levu. We did not keep all our activity in Suva, Lautoka, Nausori, Lami right from the beginning, we erupted the screening clinics immediately because we anticipate we will find some cases.”
Dr Fong said the screening clinics are needed and they are now starting to pay dividends.
“In fact I would have been disappointed if I didn’t find any case from the screening clinics over the last 24 hours and I was happy that we were actually beginning to pick up, at least we now have two more and they both came through the screening zones.
It means the screening clinics will now start working and I expect the screening clinic to pick up more cases. That is just the nature of how the disease spreads and that is the nature a screening clinic is supposed to do.”
Dr Fong said the new cases of the B1617 variant of COVID-19 poses a threat never seen before for those on Viti Levu.
“We remain in a period of nationwide containment, but these two latest clusters indicate to us that this virus has spread to localities in several different areas of Viti Levu. These two weeks will define the next two months for Fiji, and we all need to behave like we have COVID, even if there are no known cases in our community or we are showing no symptoms of the virus.”
He was not able to give any assurance on how ready they are if there is a COVID-19 explosion in Fiji.
Dr Fong said no amount of readiness is sufficient when it comes to COVID-19.
He said even the most developed countries have failed to prepare themselves for an outbreak.
“When COVID comes and it starts to escalate, the actual number exponentially and no country in the world is ever able to say our preparedness plans were never breached,” he said.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS
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