Protocol breach results in Fiji’s first Covid-19 community case

A breach of protocol at a border quarantine facility in Nadi has resulted in Fiji’s first Covid-19 community transmission case.

The positive patient is a 53-year-old woman working as a maid in the quarantine facility.

In a national address Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama said a 53-year-old woman came into contact with a soldier who was tested positive for Covid-19 at the weekend.

“Our investigation has revealed she had an interaction with the soldier when he showed up early to his room as it was being cleaned. Protocol dictates that overlap should not have happened, that is why the woman was not tested before re-entering the public. We’ll have to wait and see what further investigations reveal. What is clear today is that this breach in protocol cannot be repeated. In the meantime, we are confident that our system of border quarantine can function to the high degree it has over the past year.” 

Sixty-nine of the soldier’s contacts were tested and one result returned positive.

“The woman is a daytime worker and she resides in Nadi. It has been revealed that she had symptoms on Thursday, and authorities were not notified. That means she was contagious when she was at work on Thursday and later on Friday and Saturday when she traveled through the Lautoka and Nadi areas. Perhaps most worryingly, she attended a funeral in Tavakubu Lautoka on Friday and Saturday, traveling alongside other passengers by minivan,” Bainimarama said.
“Her movement using public transport, and her attendance –– in close proximity alongside many other Fijians –– at the two-day funeral, makes further transmission in the community highly likely.”

Authorities have established a Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area and brought new stringent health protection measures into effect.
The Nadi and Lautoka Containment Area has been established from Qeleloa bearing towards Sigatoka, to Nacilau, Vakabuli, and the Waiwai Crossing bearing towards Ba. Ministry of Health and Medical Services personnel and disciplined forces have rapidly established screening points at these entry points. 

Contact tracing continues in the containment area.

For the whole country, large gatherings including religious services and sporting events will not be permitted for the next 14 days.

Businesses can remain open with Covid safe plans.

Schools have also closed for three weeks.

The case is the first reported in a year since the last community transmission case. 

Photo file  Caption: Lautoks Hospital