The Fiji Emergency Medical Assistance Team (Femat) field hospital in Suva. Photo / Fiji Government
Over 1000 Covid-positive Fijians have been sent home to isolate because there are not enough facilities to accommodate them.
Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the nation’s stretched isolation facilities would be dedicated to patients who were most at risk of becoming severely ill or dying from the virus.
Infected people who had been told to isolate at home would be closely monitored, Fong said.
Fiji’s health ministry released a statement today advising that the mortuary at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva was at “full capacity”, ABC Radio Australia reported.
“Concerned relatives are kindly requested to make immediate arrangements for the uplifting of the deceased from the mortuary, and the performance of final funeral rites for your loved ones,” the ministry said.
The Colonial War Memorial Hospital is the sole public hospital in Fiji’s capital.
The development comes amid escalating infections and deaths in Fiji, with 352 new Covid cases reported today and over 6000 people testing positive since this latest outbreak started in April.
There have been 30 deaths since March 2020, with 27 from this latest outbreak.
RNZ Pacific correspondent in Suva, Lice Movono, said the government was anticipating that case numbers and deaths would increase in the coming weeks.
Movono said the situation was dire.
“With the death toll now increasing and our daily caseload going well past the three digits, and our daily positivity rate now well past what the WHO says is an out-of-control pandemic.
“They’re planning to turn an area that we call ‘SportsCity’, which is in Laucala Bay, just five minutes outside the city centre, [into a field hospital]. They’re making that entire sporting arena a set of Covid-19 care facilities. So they are trying to move people out of the main hospital, the Colonial War Memorial Hospital and look after them there.”
We have 352 new cases of COVID-19 to report in the 24 hour period that ended at 8 am today.
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Posted by Fijian Government on Monday, July 5, 2021Fiji’s authorities ‘beyond their limits’New Zealand epidemiologist and University of Otago Professor Michael Baker said Fiji was going backwards in its fight against the pandemic.
He said it was evident the Fijian authorities were “really beyond their limits” in managing the outbreak.
“There’s a huge danger in sending home people who actually have this infection because many of them will be going back to multi-generational households.
“They may be already crowded and it will be very hard for them to avoid infecting household members and really propagating this outbreak even further.”
Fiji’s health ministry said if these people developed severe symptoms, they would have to make their way to the nearest hospital for treatment.
“If they aren’t able to transport themselves, we also have a new number – number 165 – which they can call for an emergency retrieval team to be dispatched to transport them to a Covid care centre,” Fong said.
The mortuary at Fiji’s largest hospital is now full, the country’s health ministry said on Monday, as the Pacific island…
Posted by ABC Radio Australia on Sunday, July 4, 2021″This team is based out of the ANZ arena and they will also be charged with transporting patients with severe symptoms from isolation facilities to Covid care centres.”
In addition, the Government has also reminded those who have been told to quarantine at home because they have come into contact with someone who is positive, that they should do so for as long as they have been told to.
Fong said the ministry would have a list of patient names who were under home isolation, paired with contact information so they could check in with them on a daily basis over the phone to assess their medical and non-medical needs.
“As has been the case, they will continue to be provided with groceries and other household essentials so they can securely remain isolated within their homes.”
Christchurch anaesthetist Dr Wayne Morriss is in Fiji with the Australian Medical Assistance Team, to help with the Covid-19 response.
Morriss said the health authorities were doing their best in trying circumstances.
“It’s been a really sophisticated response by the Fijian health authorities. But I think that this sort of outbreak is would stress any health system. We’re obviously very worried about the increasing numbers of cases and it’s fair to say that it’s really stressing the system.”
Despite the alarming figures, the government has maintained there was no need for a national lockdown.
“And the reason the government has given is that basically we can’t afford it. Most of the clusters are coming out of socio-economically challenged communities, the government is saying.
“So these would be informal settlements and they are saying that if we do have a lockdown, that it would be these people who would be affected the most.”
As part of the Fijian Government’s distribution initiative, teams from the Fiji Police Force and Shop N Save Supermarket…
Posted by Fijian Government on Sunday, July 4, 2021Government has ‘lost the plot’But the opposition National Federation Party warns the government’s Covid-19 mitigation plan is leading the country to disaster.
NFP leader Biman Prasad said the Government had “lost the plot” and needed to change its strategy.
“What we’ve been saying is ‘learn from New Zealand’. I mean you know what kind of lockdowns NZ has had. They have different levels and what does a lockdown mean?
“It doesn’t mean that people get locked in their homes and do not have access to food and other supplies. Instead, they’re allowed to do that.
“But a lockdown is a strategy that to arrest the spread of the virus and bring it down to zero while you continue to vaccinate the people.”
Following advice from the medical assistance team from New Zealand and Australia, Fong said the health ministry will increase its protection of government teams working on community screening or at the field hospitals.
Prasad said this was crucial because there were thousands of frontline workers caring for Covid-19 patients in Fiji.
Despite increasing social unrest, food shortages and disruptions to social services, Fong said mitigation was the science-backed response to the humanitarian aspect of the outbreak.
Meanwhile, 317,461 Fijian adults have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 52,001 have received their second doses.
Fiji now has 4909 Covid-positive people in isolation.