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More Covid cases on remote Fiji island

Friday 20 August 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in Fiji, Regional

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More Covid cases on remote Fiji island
Vunisea Hospital in Kadavu. Photo: Ministry of Health, Fiji

Forty-six more people have tested positive to Covid-19 on Fiji's remote island of Kadavu amid 485 new infections and 11 deaths.

All but one of the Kadavu patients are from a single village and they are in isolation, the government said.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong also confirmed a total of 485 new cases for the 24 hours to 8am yesterday.

Eleven more people have died, taking the death toll to 432, he said.

Dr Fong said 781 cases and eight deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours.

Dr Fong said there had been 1080 new recoveries reported since the last update, which meant there were now 20,591 active cases.

He said 12,050 are in the Central Division and 8494 in the West, one in the North and 46 active cases are in the East.

There have been 43,026 cases recorded during the outbreak that started in April 2021; a total of 43,096 cases recorded since the first case was reported in March 2020, with 21,825 recoveries.

Shipping services cancelled

Shipping services to and from Kadavu have been suspended after the death of a 63-year-old woman who tested positive for Covid-19 at the Vunisea Hospital in Kadavu.

Health authorities are investigating the death to determine if it was caused by Covid-19 or from an underlying condition.

Dr Fong said the victim, from Rakiraki Village in Yale, was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the hospital on Tuesday.

"This means she died at home or on the way to hospital," he said. "Her family reported that she had cough, fever and shortness of breath."

Dr Fong said the woman was swabbed as per protocol and tested positive for Covid-19.

"Early investigations have indicated that this person had contact with individuals who travelled unauthorised between Suva and Kadavu.

"A response team is currently on site investigating the case and conducting public health investigations with testing and quarantine of contacts."

Travel suspension for Ono-i-Lau

Dr Fong said to help with public health containment measures, shipping services to Kadavu had been suspended for a week starting yesterday and ending on 26 August.

"Investigations continue, and further announcements will be made on the future measures that will be put in place to contain spread on the island."

Earlier, a travel suspension was enforced for Ono-i-Lau in the Lau Group.

In a statement, the Maritime Safety Authority advised all shipmasters, shipowners and port management companies, operators, marinas and yacht clubs that the suspension is effective from 19-31 August.

The authority's chief executive, Simon Gravenall, all vessels including small craft and yachts scheduled to travel to Ono-i-Lau are to postpone planned trips during this period.

"The Police and Navy will carry out surveillance to ensure adherence to this notice."

Dr Fong said 310 Covid patients are in hospital - 114 of them are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 38 patients at the FEMAT field hospital, and 158 are at the Colonial War Memorial, St Giles and Makoi hospitals. He said 31 of them are in severe condition and 15 critical.

As of 19 August, 541,611 individuals had received their first dose of the vaccine and 228,799 got both jabs. This means that 92.3 percent of the target population have received one dose and 39 percent are fully vaccinated.