Senin, 07 Juni 2021

Cases linked to Delta strain explode in Fiji, as government struggles to control outbreak - ABC News

Young mother Vaseva Radinivanuakula was shocked when her entire village in Fiji was put under lockdown.

Authorities said that a funeral held last Thursday in her tiny community of Mulomulo on the outskirts of Nadi may have become a super-spreader event.

They ordered each of the roughly 30 households to remain in the containment zone until everyone was tested.

For Ms Radinivanuakula, it was the latest blow in an escalating COVID-19 crisis that has already infected more than 600 Fijians in less than two months.

"I'm a mother of a two-month-old baby, who is with me right now, so I find it hard," Ms Radinivanuakula said.

"It's like all of a sudden. No one knows what the lockdown was for."

It comes as Fiji braces for an influx of COVID-19 hospitalisations as an outbreak linked to the highly infectious Delta strain continues its rapid spread.

The Pacific nation announced a daily record of 83 cases on Sunday, with authorities saying 1.4 per cent of test results have come back positive over the previous seven days.

The Fiji government is trying desperately to contain the virus without putting in place a widespread lockdown, instead introducing small containment zones like the one in Mulomulo.

But there are signs the outbreak is getting out of hand, and some are urging the government to rethink its strategy.

Vaccination drive suspended, as PM urges people to get the jab

Frank Bainimarama wears personal protective gown, mask and visor as he visits a coronavirus testing lab.
Frank Bainimarama has urged Fijians not to wait for a miracle from God, but to get vaccinated instead.(

Supplied: Fijian government


Three staff members from Fiji's COVID-19 management team were infected last week, leading to the standing-down of personnel from the Ministry of Health.

A major hospital in the capital Suva has been repurposed as a facility solely dedicated to coronavirus patients, while Fiji officials say a health centre for non-COVID cases will be developed soon with Australia's support.

Meanwhile, authorities announced that vaccinations would be suspended in Fiji's second-largest town, Nadi, without explanation as to why.

For Mick Beddoes, Fiji's former opposition leader, the situation is very concerning and he is urging the government to implement stricter containment measures.

Man in floral black and white shirt stares at camera.
Fiji's former opposition leader says the government is putting people's lives at risk by refusing to implement a lockdown.(

ABC News


"[The Fiji government] is putting the dollar value ahead of the lives of our citizens," Mr Beddoes said.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has reassured the country that COVID-19's hold over Fiji "will dissipate" and accused those calling for stronger lockdowns as "false prophets who are bent on stopping our progress".

Despite the vaccine suspension in Nadi, he urged Fijians to get the shot, saying that "God created doctors" to "create medicine" and bring an end to the outbreak.

"Israel is back to normal because of the vaccine. We too can do it, if we are vaccinated," Mr Bainimarama said.

"If you are passionate about Israel – biblical and modern – be passionate about their respect for the vaccine. Get your jab.

Australia to deliver 50,000 vaccines to Fiji

More than 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far, with around a quarter of Fiji's population receiving their first dose already.

Australia's Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja said the uptick in cases in Fiji "was a concern" and that the government was ready to support Fiji.

"130,000 Australian vaccines have been delivered to Fiji already, we are proposing to deliver another 50,000 this week, which I know will be very welcome," Mr Seselja said.

"We are delivering, in addition to vaccines, things like PPE [personal protective equipment], things like lab support in both personnel and in equipment, [and] testing equipment, which is obviously very important."

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2021-06-07 18:59:00Z

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