Expect More Cases: Fong

Tavakubu funeral now a potential super spreader event. Certain of more cases out there. At least 500 people were at the funeral in Lautoka. Search for taxi driver, three minibus drivers who drove vehicles with COVID-19 positive cases (mother and daughter) If you travelled by minibus from the Lautoka Minibus Stand to Nadi after 5pm on April 17, please call 158 If you are the driver of the grey taxi, or have information about the driver, please call 158
21 Apr 2021 10:09
Expect More Cases: Fong
Truck drivers requesting Police officers to cross checkpoints at the Momi junction on April 20, 2021. Photo: Mereleki Nai

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is certain that there are more COVID-19 cases out there.

This was determined after they identified at least 500 people who attended the Tavakubu funeral along with the 53-year-old COVID-19 positive case and her daughter who has also tested positive.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong said the woman and her daughter have been the central focus of their contact tracing effort.

Together, they represent the highest-risk cases Fiji has ever contended with.

“The woman was at the funeral for a few hours, which is more than long enough to transmit the virus to others,” he said.

“Now that we know both the mother and daughter are COVID-positive, the risk that there was transmission of the virus to the mother’s fellow passengers during her travel from the Tavakubu funeral to Nadi on Saturday is high. The funeral, as well, is now being treated as a potential super spreader event.”

Everyone who attended the funeral have been told to stay at home for the next two weeks while they await screening from the ministry.

“We are mobilising a massive house-to-house screening effort in the Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area to determine people’s travel history, so we know where they have been, and screen for COVID-like symptoms, so we know if they are sick,” he said.

“We will be testing immediately and often. We have the capacity to run 600 COVID tests per day. That is how many tests we plan to run every day for the next two weeks, at least.

“We will not hesitate to escalate our response in accordance with the risk we face. What we’ve learned since yesterday (Monday) has changed our containment strategy in some important ways.”



Naicabecabe Village in Moturiki has been identified as a containment area after three villagers stayed with the 53-year-old woman and her daughter at their home and accompanied them to the funeral.

The villagers are securely under home quarantine in Naicabecabe Village and have been swabbed for tests.

Meanwhile, all families in the village are also being screened.


Travel restrictions

To ensure effective screening efforts, the ministry is advising residents of Nadi and Lautoka to stay at home and limit their movement within the Containment Area.

Movement is restricted for emergencies, employment and essential purposes only.

“If you do not have an essential reason to travel, don’t. We need everyone at home as often as possible. Basically, if you are living within the containment area, you should treat everyone as COVID-positive until it is proven otherwise.”

“If you need to go outside, wear a mask. Keep your distance from others, and head straight home once you’ve finished your work, shopping, or accessing essential services.”

Business owners are advised to enforce physical distancing within their businesses and demand their customers to switch the CareFiji app on.

Operators that don’t enforce this will be shut down.



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