Fiji pleads for extra beds to help growing number of sick, dying COVID-19 patients

Aid agencies in Fiji have been asked to provide extra beds for the growing number of patients sick and dying from COVID. 

Six more deaths have been recorded and the Government's issued strict new rules for workers - "get vaccinated or you'll lose your job". 

It's drive-thru jabs - not lockdowns - that Fiji's relying on to halt the deadly COVID-19 spread. 

Locals are urging their communities to get vaccinated, saying it will save everyone. 

But workers are no longer just being asked to get immunised - it's a requirement.

Frank Bainimarama, the Fijian Prime Minister, says those who refuse could see their jobs go.

"You must be vaccinated to continue working or else that business will risk being shut down. No jabs, no job."

From Monday, civil servants who haven't had their first dose will be put on leave, and for all other private businesses - the deadline is August 1. 

"That is now the policy of Government and enforced through law," said Bainimarama

There were 721 new cases yesterday, including six new deaths, 48 people have died in total and  57 percent  of the "target population" have had one dose of the vaccine - 10.2 percent  are now fully vaccinated. 

But authorities say the inoculations are not happening fast enough. 

Some with COVID-19 are relying on traditional remedies like steam treatment and then dying at home. 

Dr Rachel Devi from  Fiji's COVID-19 Vaccination Taskforce says there's not much that can be done.

"We can't do anything about it and they were not fully vaccinated. It's not easy. This is one of the days we were not wanting to get to."

The Prime Minister, who's fully vaccinated, says there are a foolish few who are spreading lies about what the vaccine does. 

"I have not been magnetised, or microchipped by the vaccine. I have not received the mark of the beast or any other creature."

The real beast is of course the virus, which is stretching critical resources to the limit. 

Shairana Ali the Save the Children Fiji Chief Executive says demand is huge. 

"There is a request to civil society organisations including Save The Children to provide additional beds because they are setting up more isolation centres

A number of schools, halls and tents have been set aside to create those isolation centres. 

* New Zealanders can support the work of Save the Children in Fiji by visiting