Fiji will not lift Covid-19 restrictions - MOH

Health authorities in Fiji say they will not advise the Government to lift Covid-19 restrictions out of fear of a resurgence of infections.

This comes amid 16 deaths and close to 350 new cases reported in the community last weekend.

Fiji's Health Secretary Dr James Fong says the spike in cases was experienced after a few health measures were relaxed in November last year.

"Our biggest worry remains compliance to the informal setting, especially among the informal dwellings where we may have some problem with providing oversight over the Covid-safe measures.

"They remain the most significant areas of risk and the most significant areas of transmission that can happen," Dr Fong said

Fiji had reopened its borders to international travellers on December 1st with more than 70-thousand tourists expected to arrive at Nadi Airport by the end of this month.

Anyone who is in the high-risk group and develops any Covid-19 symptoms is strongly advised to get tested, said Fong.

He said the 16 deaths were recorded between 28 December 2021 and 20 January 2022, with 12 deaths reported in the Northern Division, two in the Central Division and two in the Western Division.

Fong said the deaths in the north from December 2021 to mid-January 2022 were being reported on Sunday because of a delay in the issuance of Medical Cause of Death Certificates.

"All were at higher risk of severe disease due to their ages or underlying medical conditions.

"Fourteen of the people who died were not vaccinated, while two were fully vaccinated," he said.

"These were people who were over the age of 50 or had significant underlying medical conditions (non-communicable disease). And even more sadly, 14 of the people who died were not vaccinated."

Fong also said the presence of two or more NCDs such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity and hypertension, at the same time, had been a predominant contributor to severe outcomes in all the waves of Covid-19 in Fiji.