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Measles Outbreak: Police to monitor picnic spots

December 5, 2019 12:55 pm
Police are now patrolling recreational areas to prevent large social gatherings due to the recent measles outbreak.

Police are now patrolling recreational areas to prevent large social gatherings due to the recent measles outbreak.

With indications that people are not following the Health Ministry’s advisory to not congregate in numbers, police have been called in to assist.

Chief of Operations, ACP Maretino Qiolevu says officers have been deployed to various locations.

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“Especially for Nasilai, Pacific Habour and even My Suva Park. So our officers are there on a daily basis and they will warn people, those who are there to move out from those places. And also to ensure that there’s no unnecessary convergence at those picnic sites and we will continue to do it until the advisory is stood down.”

ACP Qiolevu says people who gather in large numbers will be asked to move, adding that necessary action will be taken if there is disobedience from the public.

“Straight away disobedience of lawful order and we are going to take actions where and when necessary according to the law.”

Out of the 16 confirmed cases in the Central Division, 11 cases are from the Serua/Namosi Subdivision, 3 from Suva Subdivision and 2 cases from Rewa Subdivision.

Measles is a highly contagious disease; therefore, non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo is strongly discouraged.

Measles is very contagious. To help stop the spread of the disease, the Health Ministry is advising Fijians to take the following precautions:

· Avoid non-essential travel to Serua/Namosi and Nasilai Village in Nakelo. If you need to travel to these areas, please get vaccinated against measles at least two weeks before travel. Please avoid taking those that cannot get vaccinated (e.g. babies under the age of 6 months and pregnant women) to the outbreak areas.

· Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc.). Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities.

· If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel. This especially applies to visitors traveling from other countries with measles outbreaks i.e. New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga.

The Ministry is conducting an immunization campaign targeting people who may not be fully immunized and are most at risk of measles infection. Already close to 100,000 people around the country have been vaccinated in phase one of the campaign.

This includes over 20,000 people in the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.

People who got vaccinated in phase one of the campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two. Only children who are due a second dose in line with the national vaccination schedule or children who have defaulted and are due for a second dose will be eligible.

The second phase of this immunization campaign began yesterday across Fiji and it is targeting people in the groups listed below:

1) Any child in Fiji who has not received 2 doses of a measles vaccine as per the national immunization schedule

2) Any child in Fiji aged 12 and 18 months who are due for their routine measles vaccine as per the national immunization schedule

3) Any person in Fiji travelling overseas, however evidence of travel must be provided i.e. travel itinerary or ticket

4) All health care workers in Fiji

5) All airport and hotel staff

In the Central Division only, the campaign will also target:

1) All children aged 6 months to 5 years

2) All people born between 1980 and 2000 (19 to 39-year-olds, who should have ID available if asked).

3) All residents of Serua/Namosi aged 6 months and older.

Pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine should not be vaccinated.

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