Bula Vinaka Fiji,

This is the second day of our new lock down conditions in the Containment areas of Nadi-Lautoka and Lami-Suva-Nausori. In this update, we will announce more positive cases, however we are now able to confirm that, contrary to what we feared yesterday, we do not have a new cluster nor do we have community transmission.

We have recorded twelve new cases of COVID-19 since our last update yesterday afternoon.

The first case is a soldier working in a border quarantine facility, and is the roommate of case 73, the first border quarantine soldier announced to have been infected by the virus on Sunday April 18th. This new case had tested negative on his first test, and does not pose a transmission risk to the public as he has been contained within the government quarantine facility since Sunday April 18th, and tested positive now after 7 days in quarantine.

Four of the new cases are close contacts of the hotel quarantine staff who travelled to the funeral in Tavakubu. The four tested negative when they entered quarantine but have now tested positive. This indicates that they were not infectious while in the community.

The next seven new cases are related, and are all close household contacts of the 29-year old female from Makoi who we revealed yesterday was potentially our first case of community transmission.

By community transmission we mean a case that cannot be linked to other cases or to international travel. As mentioned yesterday, finding a case of community transmission is of great concern, because it indicates that an outbreak is widespread and uncontrolled, with a devastating outbreak imminent. However, further investigation has revealed that the infected woman’s husband is a 30-year old soldier who works in a border quarantine facility in Nadi, and he has tested positive. As per protocol this soldier was tested for the virus on April 10th before being released to return home to Suva on April 12th, and he had tested negative.

We can confirm that, between the negative test result on April 10th and returning home on April 12th, he had close contact with case 73, the border quarantine soldier who had also tested negative on 10th April and likely got infected shortly after swabbing. Unfortunately this soldier, who is the husband of the Makoi case, came into contact with case 73, before case 73 was found to be positive. 

The current information indicates that the lady from Makoi caught the virus from her husband.

Establishing this link between the Makoi case all the way back to case 73 means that this Makoi case will now be re-classified as a case of local transmission, and not community transmission. However, I want to temper this good news, because we are currently tracking the movements of this Makoi family, and initial investigations indicate that they had a large number of contacts in the community. Our likely window of transmission for the family, starting with the husband extends from Monday April 12th to Sunday April 25th.

So of now there are 36 active cases in isolation, 14 of which are border quarantine cases, with 22 locally transmitted cases.

So even though we now know that we do not have community transmission, we will still need to maintain our containment areas. The reason we need to do this is because the Makoi family had a large number of contacts and moved around extensively. The maintenance of the containment areas will help us trace all their contacts more effectively and quickly.

This is necessary to ensure that they are safe, the community is safe, and the country at large is safe. We will make any necessary changes to the health protocols as and when required. In the meantime all health protocols as announced yesterday will remain.
As part of our extensive tracing efforts, I would like to make an urgent plea to all those who:
-Attended the Nasereci church service in Nadi at 10.30am on Sunday 18th April.
-Travelled from Viti Levu to any of the outer islands including Vanua Levu from Monday 19th April to contact the nearest health team or the 158 helpline.
Again, I want to urge all Fijians to stay the course and follow the measures that are necessary to contain this outbreak and get us back to normal. Our containment areas are necessary and unavoidable because they are the only way to stop this infection from spreading.

Please remain at home and try to take care of all necessary business—such as shopping for groceries and other necessities—in your immediate neighborhoods.

I also want to repeat: Wear your masks if you must go out. Avoid social gatherings. Maintain social distance of at least two meters when you are outside your home.  Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for about 20 seconds each time. And download the careFIJI app.