State of COVID-19 cases ‘unclear’

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete during break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

It is “unclear” what the state of Fiji’s 18 COVID-19 cases were as Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete made two contradicting statements in Parliament this week.

On Tuesday this week, in response to a motion by National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad for an inquiry into health and medical care delivery, Dr Waqainabete said “we have had only 18 COVID-19 cases, nine were admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“I have said it before and will say it again, some of them got quite sick,” he said. “They were managed effectively by our people on the ground, people who are able to stay because we have been able to retain our staff because we have increased their salaries.”

Prof Prasad had introduced the motion where he highlighted a lack of basic medical needs in hospitals, radiology was often crippled without X-ray reagents and films, CT and MRI machines occasionally breaking down, serology, endocrinology and biochemistry tests not done in January because of lack of reagents, among other issues.

And during a ministerial statement delivered in Parliament on Wednesday, Dr Waqainabete said none of Fiji’s 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases were admitted to the ICU.

“None of Fiji’s cases have had severe illness and none have required intensive care unit-level care and it was not by fluke, it was by a dedicated group of personnel and also the resources that were given to them by Government to do the work that needs to be done.”

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