Fiji hospital lockdown: Patient dies, fears facility could be Covid ground zero

Author
NZ Herald / RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 9:17AM
(Photo / RNZ)
(Photo / RNZ)

Fiji hospital lockdown: Patient dies, fears facility could be Covid ground zero

Author
NZ Herald / RNZ,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 May 2021, 9:17AM

- RNZ

Fiji has recorded its third Covid-19 death, a male patient inside the quarantined Lautoka Hospital.

Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong said the 53-year-old died yesterday afternoon.

Fiji's Lautoka Hospital has been cordoned off, closed to the public, with the staff all sequestered and quarantined within it.

Fong said earlier that the lockdown was necessary because there was a very serious Covid-19 infection case.

There were four new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Two were at the border: soldiers returning from peacekeeping in the Golan Heights, and two local.

Fong said yesterday that one of the local victims was in intensive care.

That was the now-deceased 53-year-old man who, on two occasions, refused a Covid-19 test while in the hospital for a surgical procedure.

Both the Lautoka doctors who have contracted Covid-19 had had contact with the man. Fong said it is believed the man was a likely late-stage carrier of the virus.

Fong believes the man may have transmitted the virus to the doctors, not the other way around.

He said because they did not know where the man contracted it, his case appeared to be a red flag for widespread transmission, meaning more cases of the virus.

Fong said to prevent the hospital from becoming ground zero for a wider outbreak, the disciplined forces have locked it down, making it a tightly contained, full-time Covid-19 care facility.

More than 400 patients, doctors, nurses, and other staff have been sequestered and will be effectively quarantined within the hospital until it is determined who else may have had contact with the patient.

Some staff who had left the hospital have been called back in.

All medical services are being re-routed to other regional hospitals.

Fong said given that more severe cases were expected, sections within Lautoka Hospital were being converted into intensive care units.

"We are going to provide them with any and all support that they need. Food, supplies, bedding, whatever they require, we will provide."