COVID-19: Wake-up call

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete (right) and Ministry of Health Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan during the press conference today, March 30, 2020. Picture: ATU RASEA

A NEW Zealand national has tested positive of COVID-19, two days after returning from Fiji on March 19.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said it was still unclear whether the man had contracted the virus while he was still in Fiji or when he was back in NZ.

He said this was because the man had not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 while he was in the country.

“This case in NZ should be a wake-up call for everyone,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“There is a real chance this individual could have picked up the virus while he was in Fiji.

“So even though we have not recorded a new case in Fiji for the last five days, we must act as if anyone anywhere could be a carrier of coronavirus.

“Act as if you or someone you love is already Fiji’s next case of COVID-19. Please treat this crisis seriously.

“Please maintain social distancing. If you see a bad habit, call it out publicly.” Out of an abundance of caution, Dr Waqainabete has also called on people who might have been in some public places where the NZ national had been while in Fiji to quickly contact the MOH through its toll-free helpline — 158.

“If you were also in one of these areas and are feeling unwell, feeling symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, please urgently contact the MOH.

“From the 11-13 of March at the Plantation Island Resort and return ferry to Denarau and the Cloud 9 floating platform, from the morning of the 15th of March at the Duadua Resort and lunchtime at the Tanoa Hotel in Rakiraki.

“We’ve also made contacts with relatives the individual stayed with in Nadi during his time in Fiji. They told us they have been in self-quarantine since the patient left Fiji. All are well with no symptoms, regardless they will all remain in compulsory self-quarantine and receive daily checks from our health staff.

“We have identified and been in touch with 14 other contacts all who remain well and are in compulsory self-quarantine.”

Meanwhile, no new case of COVID-19 has been recorded in the country in the past five days. Fiji presently has five confirmed cases of the virus.

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