By Lice Movono of RNZ
A woman has died of Covid-19 and three staff from Fiji's Centre for Disease Control have tested positive for the coronavirus today.
In a statement made to the nation tonight, Fiji Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said the latest death was a woman from the recent cluster detected at Makoi, a suburb north of Suva, which has been the centre of multiple cases this week.
Fong said she was taken to intensive care after her condition began deteriorating rapidly.
"Tonight, I offer the nation my ministry's total commitment to spare as many families as we can from the tragedy of seeing loved ones lost to this terrible disease," he said.
Meanwhile Fong announced four more new cases: Another woman from Makoi and three who are administration staff at the Fiji CDC.
One of the staff members, also a resident of Makoi, had been tested after returning to work this week from annual leave.
Two other Fiji CDC staff had tested negative during routine testing earlier this week, but returned positive results when tested again during contact tracing for their colleague.
"Our investigations so far indicate that this cluster originated outside of the Fiji CDC and the virus was then brought in - as would be an expected consequence of community transmission," Fong said.
"Apart from these three cases, all other Fiji CDC staff have tested negative so far, including all of the laboratory and medical staff in the centre.
"We know that there was limited contact between administration staff and the lab personnel due to existing protocols. However, as a result of these cases, Fiji CDC has been sequestered, with staff onsite, or placed in quarantine facilities."
Meanwhile, testing at the facility has temporarily halted while decontamination is conducted. The permanent secretary assured operations would continue after that with frequent testing for staff to follow.
This second death of this wave brings the total Covid-19 Fiji death toll to four.
However it is the first time a patient has succumbed to community transmission of Covid-19 without having an underlying condition or having imported the virus.
"The war against this virus is still winnable. Many thousands of lives can still be saved. Today, tomorrow, and every day after, for all of the foreseeable future, we will tell you what steps you can take to protect yourself and protect the ones you love. Listen often, listen well, and please adhere to every word of the advice we have to give," Fong said.
Meanwhile, the Suva and Nausori corridor, home to three towns and about a third of Fiji's population, goes into a lockdown from 11pm on Friday to 4am on Wednesday.
The Government has positioned emergency food rations to be distributed later in the lockdown period.