Ministry works with WHO to monitor COVID VOI

January 2, 2024 4:51 pm

[Source: Yale Medicine]

Our Ministry of Health & Medical Services is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the reported emergence of the JN.1 variant of the COVID-19 virus.

WHO says as of 18 December 2023, JN.1, a sub-lineage of BA.2.86 Omicron variant has been designated a separate variant of interest (VOI) apart from its parent lineage BA.2.86 due to its rapid increase in prevalence in recent weeks.

Based on current evidence and information available, there were minimal admissions and major public health impacts at this time from this VOI.

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This may change as more is known about the illness caused by this variant.

MOH says it is continuing to monitor the spread of the new variant and is scaling up the surveillance process and laboratory investigations at the Fiji Centre for Disease Control (Fiji CDC).

The Ministry is urging the public to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect against respiratory illnesses.

This includes practicing good hand hygiene, and proper coughing and sneezing practice, staying up to date with vaccinations, and seeking prompt medical attention for any concerning symptoms.

Vulnerable members of Fiji’s communities such as the elderly, pregnant, babies and young children, disabled, and those with chronic diseases should be encouraged and supported with personal COVID-19 safety measures.

Anyone who falls sick with COVID-19-like symptoms is to get tested, and if positive, avoid attending work or joining a large group of people over 5 days.

Those who are experiencing severe illness that includes shortness of breath should present themselves immediately to their nearest health facility for treatment.

Travelers are advised to ensure their COVID vaccination is updated and to practice COVID-safe measures including the use of face masks where appropriate while overseas.

Globally, over 850 000 new cases were reported during the 28-day period from 20 November to 17 December 2023.

The number of new cases increased by 52% as compared to the previous 28-day period.

Over 3000 new deaths were reported during this period, a decrease of 8% as compared to the previous 28-day period.

As of 17 December 2023, over 772 million confirmed cases and nearly seven million deaths have been reported globally.

COVID-19 Symptoms:

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

Possible symptoms include:

➔ Fever or chills
➔ Cough
➔ Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
➔ Fatigue
➔ Muscle or body aches
➔ Headache
➔ Loss of taste or smell
➔ Sore throat
➔ Congestion or runny nose
➔ Nausea or vomiting
➔ Diarrhea

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
➔ Trouble breathing
➔ Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
➔ Confused state.
➔ Inability to wake or stay awake.
➔ Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.