February 2, 2023

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181 new COVID cases, MOH issues directives to workplaces and communities

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Fiji recorded 181 new COVID-19 cases and zero deaths in the last three days.

Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Doctor James Fong says this is a concern because the ministry has noted a rise in COVID-related hospital admissions.

He says the deaths due to COVID have occurred more with those between the age of 50 and onwards and this is out of the 165 deaths recorded in the third wave.

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Doctor Fong says 116 cases were recorded in the Central Division; 43 cases in the Western Division; 19 cases in the Northern and three cases were recorded in the Eastern Division.

The ministry is advising workplaces to enforce COVID safe measures as there has been an increase in cases reported from workplaces.

Health facilities around the country have been notified to reintroduce more stringent COVID safe measures and this includes restricting visitations, more strict enforcement of masking and hand sanitization practices, and strengthening screening protocols.

Doctor Fong says community and workplace leaders must bring back COVID safe measures that they have acquired during the acute outbreak.

He adds that we need to live with COVID by reducing the risk of vulnerable people getting COVID or suffering from severe consequences.

According to the ministry, there is also evidence that prior infection with a non-Omicron variant or the Omicron sublineages of BA.1 and BA.2 may not protect against infection with Omicron sublineages BA.4 and BA.5, which are now dominant in some countries- though some protection against severe disease is still expected.

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There is no evidence that BA.4 and BA.5 cause more severe disease than previous variants.  The PS states that the latest genomics sequencing results show that Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2 are in circulation in Fiji, while BA.4 and BA.5 have not yet been detected.