Repatriation remains suspended, Fiji’s COVID-19 situation a high risk to Tonga

According to the NEMC, the Government cannot allow the delta variant to enter Tonga nor take on this high-risk exercise at this point in time.

The committee also clarified that stranded Tongan nationals in Fiji, both in transit and students, are being supported by the Tongan Government with living allowances.

This follows claims by about 20 Tongan nationals stranded in Fiji that they have been neglected by their government.

At this stage, the suitable strategy for those intending to return home is to get vaccinated, the NEMC said in a statement.

Four-month old baby dies of COVID-19 in Fiji

The Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong said the child was admitted at the CWM Hospital for five days before he succumbed to illness.

He was initially presented to a health centre in mild respiratory distress on 1 September.

"He was medically assessed and stabilised by the attending medical officer and then transferred to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva for specialist care on the same day," Dr Fong said.

The infant was tested for COVID-19 as per protocol upon admission and he returned a positive result.

Stranded Tongans claim government repatriation pleas have fallen on deaf ears

The Tongan nationals claimed their government had turned a blind eye to their pleas to return home after it allowed 14 Chinese into the Kingdom late last month to work on a government project.

In a joint statement, the agitated travellers and seafarers claimed Tonga underestimated Fiji’s health system, assuming that they could get the COVID-19 virus into the country, the Fiji Times reports.

“Tonga trusts China, the place where COVID- 19 originated,” the statement read.

Half of Fijians surveyed will not vaccinate against COVID-19

The study conducted by NGO, Dialogue Fiji from June 25 to July 10 this year found that 53.9 percent of Fijians surveyed believed the Covid-19 vaccine was "very safe".

The survey, 'Determinants of Covid-19 Vaccines Hesitancy in Fiji', stated that public confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccines to prevent infection may be affected by perceived risks associated with vaccination.

"Of the 1047 respondents, only 53.9 percent reported the vaccine was 'very safe', while 19.4 percent reported the vaccines to be 'little safe' to 'not safe at all'," Dialogue Fiji stated.

Fiji’s COVID-19 death toll passes 500

The Government also confirmed 250 new cases for the 24 hours to 8am yesterday.

Thirteen of the new cases are on the outer island of Kadavu and three patients are pregnant women.

Permanent Secretary of Health Dr James Fong said, "This means there are now 270 active cases of Covid-19 in Kadavu," he said. "All these individuals have been isolated."

Fiji now has 16,267 active cases. There were 1102 recoveries.

The death toll is at 505, which 503 of these are from the latest outbreak that began in April, 2021.

COVID patients in Fiji isolate at home

The Ministry of Health announced the move in June amid a daily-record of cases, taking the total number of infections since April to over 19,000.

Health experts in and around Fiji have warned against the government's plan to isolate COVID patients at home amid the escalating cases in the country.

There are 19,151 active cases in isolation with 8352 of them in the Central Division, 10,562 in the West, five in the North (Nabouwalu and Macuata), and 232 cases are in the Eastern Division (Kadavu).

290 new cases, 8 more deaths reported in 24 hours

The Government also confirmed 290 new cases for the 24 hours to 8am yesterday.

That compares with 505 cases and seven deaths in the previous 24-hour period.

Fiji now has 17,124 active cases. There were 2306 recoveries.

The death toll is at 504, which 502 of these are from the latest outbreak that began in April, 2021.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said of the latest cases, 128 are from the Western Division, 137 from the Central Division and 25 cases are from the Eastern Division.

He said there are 25 new cases on Kadavu in the East.

Vaccinating children crucial - top Fiji health official

It comes amid concerns raised by the Health Ministry and the public at the rate of children dying from the virus in Fiji.

So far about 10 young people have succumbed to the Delta variant, with the latest victims a six-month-old boy and an 11-year-old girl among the dead reported last weekend.

Fiji's chief medical advisor Dr Jemesa Tudravu said vaccinating children would also be a crucial factor in deciding when schools reopen

Schools have been closed since April this year.

"No jab, no play" - for future sports participation in Fiji

That's the message from Fiji's National Sports Commission as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the country.

All sporting events were suspended in May because of the pandemic, and anyone who wishes to be part of sporting activities in the future must be fully vaccinated.

Chairman, Peter Mazey, said sporting bodies found breaching the return-to-play protocols will not be funded.

"If you're not double vaccinated, you won't be able to play sport, and that will include spectators attending events in stadiums and national and indoor arenas," said Peter Mazey.

Tongans stuck in Fiji due to COVID travel restrictions assisted by government

The group travelled from the United States to Fiji to return to the kingdom.

However, travel restrictions imposed as a result of the outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Fiji meant the group cannot travel onwards to Tonga.

Tonga’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Reynold 'Ofanoa said there had been discussions to fly the passengers to New Zealand and then to Tonga.

However, that arrangement is now on hold as New Zealand battles with an outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19.