Ministry sounds warning as measles cases rise

A staff nurse draws vaccine during a vaccination drive at Wailali settlement in Wainadoi between Suva and Navua. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

POLICE manpower will be deployed to areas quarantined for the measles outbreak if people who contracted the highly contagious disease fail to adhere to the advice from the Health Ministry.

That’s the warning from Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete as confirmed cases of measles continue to rise.

This was after complaints were raised by medical officials at Navua Hospital that people who had contracted the disease in Wailali Settlement in Wainadoi had failed to maintain home quarantine.

“We have procedures in place. We have the Public Health Act, if we see the need to invoke those powers, then we will do it,” he said.

Questions sent to police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro on whether the Health Ministry had approached police to assist in the case at Wainadoi remained unanswered yesterday.

Dr Waqainabete confirmed to Parliament last week that the ministry would be receiving 200,000 measles vaccine from Copenhagen in Denmark this week.

So far they have managed to vaccinate a little more than 90,000 people.

He said they had also identified the recent measles case in Nakasi was linked to the Serua outbreak.

“We found out that the family went to Serua and that’s how the disease was contracted.”

Dr Waqainabete has called on members of the public to refrain from making unnecessary visits to Namosi/Serua provinces, where the measles outbreak were initially declared.

He said a measles outbreak response team was currently on the ground working round-the-clock and visiting interiors of the two provinces to vaccinate people.

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