Lautoka lockdown extended to Tuesday

April 2, 2020 7:24 am

The Lautoka lockdown has been extended up until at least Tuesday until 5am.[File photo]

The Lautoka lockdown has been extended up until at least Tuesday 5am.

This as the Government wants to ensure there are no COVID-19 cases are left undetected.

The 14-day lockdown period for the Sugar City was to end tomorrow, but Minister for Health and Medical Services, Doctor Ifereimi Waqanibete, says they want to get the all-clear before allowing movements in and out.

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He says while there has been no new cases recorded in Fiji for the last week, their main concern is that four out of the five cases are from Lautoka.

The Minister saying the last case from Lautoka, who was the Zumba class member of the first patient, and there are fears that she may have been in contact with someone, who has not as yet been tested or shown symptoms.

“However, there is still a risk she could have infected others. Yes it’s a small risk but it’s a risk we cannot afford to take. If we lift the restrictions too early and if we’ve missed one person in Lautoka who has contracted the virus, the rest of Viti Levu would be at risk.”

Doctor Waqanibete says most people in the Lautoka confined area have spoken about the lockdown as a hard time in their lives, but this needed to be done for the safety of all.

“But take comfort in knowing that these tough decisions we are making could very well spare us enormous future suffering. No one wants to see a large scale outbreak of this virus in Fiji, that means making hard calls today, that keeps this virus at bay.”

The Minister also says there are contradicting accounts in the first patient’s statements that needed to be fully verified.

“Our investigations reveal serious gaps in the account provided by the first patient about when his symptoms actually began. It’s clear, we cannot trust everything he has said. Even though we have now successfully accounted for all his known contacts, it in the nation’s best interest that we all act as if though there are still some cases in the areas waiting to be detected and even in the surrounding areas such as Nadi.”

Doctor Waqanibete says they have so far done a total of 368 tests, with 11 undertaken on Tuesday night, which were all negative.