COVID-19: No time for finger pointing; call to cooperate with contact tracing teams

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary, Dr. James Fong speaking at the press conference at the Ministry of Health headquarters conference room at Dinem House in Toorak, Suva on Wednesday, May 05, 2021. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

This is not the time to be blaming anyone.

Pointing fingers is pointless.

But members of the public are urged to agree to be tested and cooperate when contact tracing and screening teams visit their homes.

These were the comments made by Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong as he alluded to some social media comments made referencing the refusal of the 53-year-old COVID patient from Lautoka – who died yesterday – to be swabbed.

The health ministry, at this stage, suspects this patient was the source point of transmission to the two doctors at Lautoka Hospital who were previously announced as COVID-positive.

The health team, however, still does not know how that patient contracted the virus.

But Dr Fong said when he read the comments last night and today, some were confused and some were angry that the patient did not consent to be tested until it was too late.

“I can’t speak to his (patient’s) decision, but I know I speak for the staff of the Lautoka Hospital when I say – this is not the time for blame. As we have seen, this virus can attack anyone. Pointing fingers is pointless,” the PS said last night.

“We urge the public to show concern and sympathy for all people who become infected.

“We also urge the public once again to agree to be tested if there is even a small chance you may have been exposed to the virus, to cooperate fully with the contact tracing teams, and to observe the practices that will keep us all safe.

“ It could easily be a matter of life-or-death. This is a devastating virus, and as we have said, it is very unforgiving of even the smallest lapse or mistake.”


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