By RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Five people have died from Covid-19 in Fiji as health authorities battle a third wave of the coronavirus amid a cyclone that’s bearing down on the nation.
1,280 new cases of Covid-19 were reported last weekend, taking the total number of active cases to 4,429.
Health Secretary James Fong also confirmed the death toll is now 709.
Dr Fong said the five victims all died at home including a 27 year-old man.
Out of the 1,280 new cases, Dr Fong said 348 of them were recorded on 6 January, 320 on 7 January and 612 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8am on 5 January.
“Of the 1,280 cases recorded since the last update, 619 cases were recorded in the Central Division; 535 in the Western Division, 114 in the Northern Division and 12 cases in the Eastern Division,” Dr Fong said.
“Overall, there have been 57,187 cases recorded, with 69 percent of the cases from the Central Division, 27 percent from the West, 1 percent from the East and 3 percent from the Northern Division.
“Our national 7- day rolling average is 349 daily cases calculated for 4th January 2022.”
Dr Fong said an 89-year-old woman from Taveuni in the north of the country died on 4 January and had pre-existing medical conditions. She was not vaccinated.
He said a 55-year-old man from Nausori also died on 4 January and had a pre-existing medical condition. He was fully vaccinated.
“A 61-year-old female from Caubati in Nasinu who died on 06/01/22) had multiple pre-existing medical conditions that contributed to her death. She was not vaccinated.
“An 83-year-old female from Suva died on 07/01/2022 and was fully vaccinated.
“The fifth Covid-19 death to report is of a 27-year-old male from Nausori who died on 07/01/2022. He had a significant predisposing medical condition that was assessed by the attending doctors to have contributed to his death. He was fully vaccinated.”
Dr Fong said there were 636 other Covid-19 patients who had died from serious medical conditions they had before they contracted the virus. “These are not classified as Covid deaths.”
There have been 772 tests reported for 7 January, Dr Fong said, with the average daily test of 855 per day or 1.0 test per 1,000 population.
He said the national seven-day average daily test positivity is 41.4 percent.
“The high positivity rate is an indication of widespread community transmission and that the cases reported are a significant underestimate of actual numbers.
“As we continue to record new cases of Covid-19 throughout the country, the public is reminded of the need to maintain public health and social measures that are helping in suppressing the transmission of the virus in our communities so that hospitalization numbers remain low.”
There are 162 Covid-19 patients in hospital in serious condition, Dr Fong said.
“When a large number of people get infected within a shorter period of time, even a smaller percentage of people becoming severely ill may still mean a large number requiring hospitalization, which will put pressure on our health system.
“The public is also reminded that for now, we are prioritizing our testing to individuals at higher risk of severe disease to ensure that they are assessed early, referred to an appropriate health care facility, and managed promptly if their symptoms deteriorate.”
Fiji has had 57,187 Covid-19 cases since March 2020, Dr Fong said with 92.4 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. Just over 40,000 of children aged 12-17 had also received both doses of the vaccine.