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Baby among Covid-19 dead in Fiji: 240 new cases confirmed

Wednesday 8 September 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in Fiji, Regional

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Baby among Covid-19 dead in Fiji: 240 new cases confirmed
Photo: Fiji govt

A four-month-old infant has died from Covid-19 in Fiji, health authorities announced last night.

The government also confirmed 240 new cases for the 24 hours to 8am Wednesday. That was compared with 160 cases and five deaths announced on Tuesday.

The child was among three deaths reported in the last 24 hours, and all of the victims were from the central division.

Health Secretary James Fong said the infant presented to a health centre in mild respiratory distress on 1 September.

"He was medically assessed and stabilised by the attending medical officer and then transferred to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva for specialist care on the same day," Fong said.

"As per protocol upon admission, he was tested for Covid-19 and returned a positive result.

"His mother reported that he had a cough and was noted to be irritable two days before presentation at the health centre.

"He had developed a fever on the night before his presentation (31/08/2021).

"Sadly, he died five days after admission to hospital. He was not vaccinated as he was not in the current target population of people 18 years and over who are eligible to receive the vaccine."

Fong said the other two deaths were a 66-year-old man who died at home and a 76-year-old man who presented to the Vunidawa Hospital in Naitasiri on 30 August with severe respiratory distress. He died on the same day.

Eight other people who tested positive to Covid-19 had also died in Wednesday's update. But Fong said their deaths were classified as non-Covid-19 related by their doctors.

"The doctors have determined that these deaths were caused by a serious pre-existing medical condition and not Covid-19," Fong said.

"Please note that due to the time required by clinical teams to investigate, classify and report deaths, a four-day interval is given to calculate the seven-day rolling average of deaths, based on the date of death. This is to help ensure the data collected is complete before the average is reported.

"Therefore, as of September 3, the national seven-day rolling average of Covid deaths per day is four - three in the west and one in the central division.

"We have recorded 353 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted the virus; these are not classified as Covid-19 deaths."

About 10 young people have died of Covid-19 since April, including a six-month-old boy and an 11-year-old girl.

Navy monitors inter-island travel

Fiji's Navy has stepped up its surveillance and coastal patrols to ensure the maritime travel protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic are followed.

It comes amid an increase in Covid-19 infections on remote islands, with cases nearly toppling 300.

The government also confirmed new cases on Kadavu in the east and tourist hotspots, Malolo and Naviti in the west of the country.

There were 284 active cases on Kadavu, the Health Ministry said Wednesday night.

The Navy has strengthened coastal patrols as part of measures it said would help to monitor controlled and authorised maritime movements.

This was also a key component for the Health Ministry's efforts to curb further outbreaks to other maritime islands, the Navy said in a statement.

The RFNS Kikau vessel was deployed on inshore patrols over the past few weeks and it would continue to assist government efforts to ensure mariners followed the travel protocols in place to safeguard other maritime islands from Covid-19.

Another naval vessel, the RFNS Savenaca, assisted the Ministry deliver Covid-19 vaccines to islands in the southern Lau Group.

Naval officers onboard assisted health workers co-ordinate logistics' support and the vaccination campaign in the outer islands.

Meanwhile, villagers of Yaqeta on Nacula, in the Yasawas, have been put on lockdown after their first positive case of Covid-19 died.

Resort worker Saimone Camaitoga, 51, passed away during a fishing trip last Thursday.

During a post-mortem examination at the Lautoka Hospital, Camaitoga was tested for the deadly virus.

Village headman Apisai Raqele said people were now prevented from travelling to other villages within the Nacula District.

He said about 400 people live in Yaqeta Village, Nacula.

Fiji has 13,597 active cases in isolation. with the death toll at 528 - 526 of them from the latest outbreak that began in April.