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COVID-19

Nine new cases announced with curfew for Suva to Nausori from tomorrow

May 13, 2021 5:45 am

There are nine new cases of COVID-19 as the  Central Division prepares to go into a major lockdown from tomorrow night.

A 72-hour curfew will come into effect for Suva and Nausori from 11pm tommorrow to 4am Tuesday.

Three of the new cases are co-workers of a staff of Extra Supermarket, who had tested positive on Tuesday.

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The supermarket has been closed for decontamination purposes while the ministry awaits the test results from the remaining staff and management.

Health Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong, says Extra Supermarket operates with a well-enforced policy of mask-wearing and mandated that all staff and customers have the careFIJI app installed with bluetooth turned on, and this has allowed teams to identify hundreds of contacts very quickly.

The next two cases are from Nausori, who are from the same family from Lakena and the two individuals presented to the Nausori Health Centre with COVID symptoms.

Two of their household contacts have also tested positive for COVID-19 and Doctor Fong says at this early stage of the investigation, these cases are not linked to other clusters.

One of these individuals worked at Nausori market as a vendor.

An individual in Nausori, from Vunimono, also tested positive after presenting to the health centre and this case, as well, is not linked to other cases.

Doctor Fong says so far, none of these six cases in Nausori are currently linked to existing cases and these are all being treated as instances of community transmission until they are proven to be otherwise.

The ninth case today is a border quarantine staff who tested positive in the course of routine testing.

This person’s last negative test result was from May 1.

“Our investigations have not pinpointed a source of transmission for this case. Until we know more, we are not allowing any discharges from the quarantine facility in question.”

Doctor Fong says this series of new clusters requires large-scale contact tracing to the magnitude of several hundred primary and secondary contacts and the cluster emanating from Extra supermarket is of particular concern.

“However, this cluster is unlike past clusters, such as the garment factory case , for one simple reason, careFIJI. The app’s use has given us a huge advantage in identifying the closest contacts stemming from the Extra Supermarket cases. We are already locating them and testing them in droves. We expect many more of these individuals to register positive test results.”

Doctor Fong says they believe the vast majority of these remaining contacts are located in Suva and Nausori and this is where a targeted lockdown will come into effect starting from this weekend.

“As is now standard practice, the Suva and Nausori containment areas will merge into one, single lockdown zone. With everyone safely at home, my teams will use that time to trace, identify, and test as many contacts as possible. If our investigations reveal large numbers of contacts in other areas, such as Lami, the lockdown order will extend to those areas.”

He says there is enough time between now and when the lockdown measures take effect for people in these areas to prepare properly without causing mass mayhem and disorder.

“You have two full days to manage your shopping and purchase food and other essential items for your home.”

Doctor Fong says for those who genuinely need an emergency food supply in the later part of the curfew, they are going to set-up another dedicated hotline for them to call so that food rations can be delivered and they will have details today.

He has also announced should the curfew end on Tuesday, there will be newer measures from then.

“New measures will also be coming into effect for the rest of Viti Levu while we conduct assessments on the need for a more sustained lockdown period. From Saturday 15 May 2021, the curfew hours for all of Viti Levu will expand from 6pm until 4am every day. Outside of Viti Levu, the curfew hours will remain from 11pm until 4am. That means, if the lockdown of Suva and Nausori expires on schedule, the curfew hours from 6pm until 4 am will apply in these areas as well.”

Doctor Fong says the contact tracing and testing through the weekend will reveal the way forward for their containment strategy.

There are currently 49 active cases in the country after three more recoveries.

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