COVID-19: Serious risk of virus entering the community

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr James Fong speaking at the press conference. Picture: FIJIAN GOVERNMENT

There is a serious risk that the COVID-19 virus contracted by the soldier could have entered the community, says Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong.

However, he said, the ministry was acting with decisive precautions to prevent any widespread transmission in the community.

“From last night, we have embarked on a contact tracing effort to identify those who have come into contact with this individual, as well as members of their households,” he said.

Dr Fong said 69 “first generation contacts” of the latest COVID-19 patient had been identified.

He said these were individuals who were working in the quarantine facility during the time when there was a window of transmission.

“And while they have not been in close contact with this case, we have deliberately widened our definition of first generation contact to cast a wide net out of an abundance of caution.”

Dr Fong said 56 of the 69 first generation contacts had tested negative for the virus while 13 results were still being processed.

He said the ministry had also identified and contained 267 second generation contacts.

Dr Fong said these involved individuals who shared a household with the first generation contacts of the ministry’s index case.

He confirmed these individuals were taken into the quarantine facility and being tested.

Dr Fong said all individuals identified were placed in quarantine for 14 days and their results would determine whether the ministry’s contact tracing needed to expand or not.

(This article was published in The Fiji Times on Monday, April 19, 2021)

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