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COVID-19

First Ra case confirmed to be Indian variant

May 6, 2021 5:10 am

The Ministry of Health has found a genetic link to the first COVID-19 case of Ra.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong has confirmed receiving the genomic sequencing result from the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit (MDU) at the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne.

Dr Fong says the virus of the first Ra patient is genetically identical to other local cases, and it is the same B1617 variant that was first detected in India and described as one which has worrying mutations.

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“So, while we have not established a direct person-to-person link to other local cases, we know that this case is linked to the others, and is within the same cluster that links back to the border quarantine facility. While this genetic link is positive news, not yet having a person-person link indicates that other chains of transmission have happened, and are possibly ongoing in the community.”

Dr Fong says there are likely more cases linked to the cluster that is yet to be established

He adds there are still three cases of unknown origin in Fiji which includes case 116 the second patient from Ra, case 120 – the 25-year-old doctor at Lautoka Hospital, and the most recent patient at Lautoka hospital – the 53-year-old who is in critical condition.

The Permanent Secretary says the sample of case 116 is being genetically sequenced in Melbourne.

The Ministry suspects the 25-year-old doctor at the Lautoka Hospital contracted the virus from the recent patient announced on Monday.

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