Couple travelling from India retested negative

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary, Dr James Fong. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The couple who travelled from India and whose baggage allegedly infected case 73, the soldier at a Nadi quarantine facility with the deadly India variant of COVID-19, were re-tested and results came back negative.

And while Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong has evaded questions from the media about the nature of the baggage owners’ travel, he said, “currently, none of the scientists is convinced that the virus has a prolonged infectious period”.

In response to queries from The Fiji Times on whether they remained in isolation, given his earlier announcement that a man who travelled from Papua New Guinea had tested negative five times before testing positive for the virus, Dr Fong said there was no need. “There is also no evidence that they need to stay for longer than 14 days.

“The five times test was because we wanted to avoid a false negative, it had nothing to do with a prolonged infectious period.”

The Fiji Times also asked Dr Fong on the purpose of the couple’s trip and whether they had travelled to India for medical treatment. “For me, it’s not a priority item.

“I am trying to help sort logistics of this lockdown. That info does not affect my current response plan.”

This newspaper also referred to comments he made that the soldier may have contracted the virus while handling the couple’s luggage and asked whether all luggage were fumigated at Nadi International Airport. Dr Fong said “all luggage is fumigated”.

The Fiji Times also asked if bus drivers and anyone who interacted with passengers and quarantine facility staff also underwent 14-day quarantine themselves.

Dr Fong said, “quarantine is for close contacts, everyone else are casual contacts that need only PPE gear”.

More Stories