Fiji needs to stop COVID-19 tsunami
April 28, 2021 6:02 am
Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong.
The Ministry of Health has emphasized that they are on the right track in their containment efforts as the second wave of cases is confirmed to be the B1617 variant first detected in India.
Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong says their contact tracing investigation meant that they already strongly suspected that the variant was from India.
“The genetic sequencing revealed that all of the samples so far have the same virus variant. This confirms that our investigations that case 73 – the border quarantine soldier, case 74 the hotel worker who attended the Tavakubu funeral and the woman from Wainitarawau in Cunningham are all within the same cluster.”
Dr Fong says the results also reveal that two of the recently announced border quarantine cases from the same border quarantine facility, soldiers who had recently returned from overseas duties, also have the same variant.
He adds this indicates that transmission was within that border quarantine facility.
According to Dr Fong case 73, the soldier working at the quarantine facility only had contact with the couple who had traveled from India.
“This has confirmed our containment measures and we have already adopted them accordingly, but I want the public to have a clear grasp of what is at stake here. Because the discipline and diligence of ordinary Fijians will make our containment of this viral variant.”
He says this newly confirmed COVID variant is one of several dangerous new variants that have taken root in bigger countries.
Dr Fong highlighted that looking at the painful sufferings of the fourth wave in these countries, Fiji recognizes what they are up against.
He says the Ministry cannot let that nightmare happen in Fiji and there is still time to stop it from happening.
“But a single misstep will bring about the same COVID tsunami that our friends in India, Brazil and South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA are enduring. No stopping the tsunami depends on two major factors. Your job is to stay home. Our job is tracing and isolating all the known cases. So that means we screen, we trace and we isolate.”
The Permanent Secretary is urging Fijians to strictly follow all the health protocols that have been implemented.