Coronavirus: Fiji records new community COVID-19 cases amid latest outbreak

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong.
Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong. Photo credit: Getty Images, Fiji Govt via RNZ

By Lice Movono for RNZ

Fiji recorded five new cases of COVID-19 on Friday taking its total number to 195 with 61 still active.

The five cases were confirmed at midday Friday and are from the same Muanikoso household in Suva's Nasinu area.

One of the household members works at the Extra Supermarket, the centre of a cluster that was the focus of contact tracing last week.

Health Permanent Secretary James Fong says the family strictly adhered to quarantine measures and so there are no escalated measures planned for the neighbourhood.

"We appreciate the identified contacts of existing cases who have adhered to home quarantine instructions. Your cooperation has made our task of containing the virus more manageable. We continue to ask those that are not under home quarantine to please stay home unless absolutely necessary," said Dr Fong.

"We must commend the family for their decision to adhere to the home quarantine directive issued by the Ministry. A decision that undoubtedly worked to break chains of transmission and limit further spread of COVID-19 in the community."

However, Dr Fong said case 190 from the Vunimono/Nadali cluster which was announced yesterday has the potential to be high risk for transmission.

"He is a driver for a security company and was working up until Wednesday, May 19th. Therefore, the public should expect to see extensive contact tracing activities ongoing in the Suva-Nausori area," Dr Fong said.

"There are 2625 primary contacts of previous cases who were being monitored in Suva. Out of the 2625, 1619 have been cleared, with 1006 still being followed up."

Meanwhile, the Kamikamica Health Centre in the western city Lautoka will reopen Saturday 8am following decontamination.

While it had announced on Tuesday detailed processes to reopen businesses and stimulate the local economy, the government is now treading cautiously after a security guard, considered essential workers during this lockdown, contracted the virus.

"The recent case detected in an individual working for a security company, which is an essential business, highlights the need for all businesses to have extremely well-enforced protocols that mitigate the risk of infection for employees and the community at-large," Dr Fong said.

The government is adamant there are more cases in the community but reminded Fijians new chains of transmission can be broken as people adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

The government has committed to releasing two updates a day, one expected in the early afternoon and another in the evening.