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Covid-19 Fiji: 2 deaths, 580 new cases in third wave

Wednesday 5 January 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Fiji, Regional


Covid-19 Fiji: 2 deaths, 580 new cases in third wave
Photo: AFP

Fiji has reported two deaths and 580 new cases of Covid-19 as health officials confirmed a third wave of both the Omicron and Delta variants in the community.

A 73-year-old male from Wainibuku had died at home on 31 December in respiratory distress. He had pre-existing medical conditions and was not vaccinated.

The second Covid-19 death is of an 84-year-old male from Kinoya who died at home on 2 January in respiratory distress. He had a significant pre-existing medical condition and was not vaccinated.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong
Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong Photo: Fiji govt

While it is not clear how many of the new infections are from the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Health Secretary James Fong said the results of positive samples sent to the Doherty Institute in Melbourne for genomic sequencing have "confirmed, as expected, that we have community transmission throughout Fiji of both Omicron and Delta variants of the virus that causes Covid-19.

"Omicron is vastly more infectious than Delta," Dr Fong said. "As such, in keeping with what we see in other countries, the Omicron will become the dominant variant.

"As Omicron spreads very fast, you should assume you are infected, and self-isolate, if you develop any cold/flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body ache and fever."

Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete.
Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete. Photo: Alex Perrottet / RNZ

Advance of Covid-19 measures to continue - MOH

Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said increase in movements during the festive season may have resulted in a surge of Covid-19 cases in the communities.

But he said with the holiday season almost over, the ministry was confident the restriction on inter-island travel, imposed last weekend, would also help control the spread of the virus.

Dr Waqainabete said family reunions, travel and celebrations were common during the Christmas and New Year period.

"We do know that what has happened is the fact that a lot of people have returned to work, schools have begun, and even Christmas and New Year have subsided.

"We have protocols in place. We have surveillance happening at the border."

Dr Fong said there were a total of 54,939 cases recorded in the second wave which began in April to December this year.

Fiji reopened its international borders on 1 December.

Dr Fong said 69 percent of these cases were from the Central Division, 27 percent from the West, 1 percent from the Eastern Division and 3 percent of the cases from the North.

"Of the 580 cases recorded since the last update, 146 cases were recorded in the North, 111 in the West, 303 in the Central Division, and 20 cases in the East.

"Our national 7- day rolling average is 167 daily cases calculated for 30th December 2021.

"We have recorded 621 Covid-19 positive patients who died from serious medical conditions they had before they contracted Covid-19; these are not classified as Covid-19 deaths."