10 people a day dying of COVID-19 in Fiji, says govt

Ten people are dying from COVID-19 daily in Fiji with the west now surpassing the central division where the outbreak is centred.

In its latest update, the government said the country has a seven-day rolling average of 10 COVID deaths per day, with six in the west and four in the central division.

Health Secretary Doctor James Fong said the country is averaging 1462 new cases and 10 deaths per day over the last week.

The death toll is at 433, with 431 of them from this latest outbreak that began in April this year.

He said 230 positive patients, who died from serious medical conditions they had before contracting COVID-19, were not classified as dying from the virus.

Dr Fong also confirmed 198 new cases and one death reported for the 24 hours to 8am on Saturday.

That's compared with 485 cases and 11 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

Dr Fong said 516 people had recovered since Friday's update and there were now 20,271 active cases in isolation.

Of the latest cases, 52 were reported from the western division and 146 from the central division.

Dr Fong said the lone death was reported in the eastern division.

He said the death was investigated and determined to be a COVID death.

"A 63-year-old woman from Rakiraki Village in Yale, Kadavu, was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Vunisea Hospital on Monday, 16 August 16.

"Her family reported that she had symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath," Dr Fong said.

"She was swabbed as per protocol and tested positive for COVID-19 (on Tuesday, August 17."

Dr Fong said there had been two more deaths of positive patients, however, they were classified as non-COVID related by their doctors.

Of the 20,271 active cases, 11,684 were in the Central Division; 8540 in the West; one in the North (Nabouwalu); and 46 active cases in the Eastern Division (Kadavu).

Dr Fong said they were reviewing and reconciling the active case database with recoveries, and the numbers are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

There are 322 COVID patients in hospital - 118 of them are admitted at the Lautoka Hospital, 38 at the FEMAT field hospital, and 166 are admitted at the Colonial War Memorial, St Giles and Makoi hospitals.

Thirty-seven patients are considered to be in a severe condition, while 14 are critical, Dr Fong said.

There have been 43,224 cases recorded during the outbreak that started in April, 2021; and 43,294 cases recorded in the country since the first case was reported in March 2020; and 22,341 recoveries.

Meanwhile, business communities want restricted movement imposed after reports the virus had reached the country's second largest island of Vanua Levu in the North.

Three cases were confirmed there with one from Nabouwalu in the Bua Province and two quarantine cases in Labasa.

Members of the Labasa Chamber of Commerce and Savusavu Chamber of Commerce are pleading with the Government to impose restrictions in affected areas to contain the spread of the virus.

Labasa Chamber president Satish Kumar told the Fiji Times the restricted movement should be emphasised in Bua to prevent the illness from spreading.

"This is really important because we can't afford to be careless as everyone's already affected and that is why restricted movement is imperative," Kumar said.

"We have advised our members to lift their precaution measures in shops to another level to protect themselves."

Savusavu Chamber president Ravi Chhaganlal also told the newspaper they worked closely with front-line workers and had advised their members to be vigilant.

"Restricted movement should be imposed and we have reminded our members to increase visibility in their shops to ensure that customers adhere to advice."

As of 19 August, 541,611 people have received their first dose of the vaccine and 228,799 have got both jabs.

Dr Fong said this means that 92.3 percent of the target population had received at least one dose and 39 percent were fully vaccinated.