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Omicron was in Fiji before borders opened


Jan 14, 2022 01:01:39 PM

Omicron was in Fiji before borders opened Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong says the Omicron variant was already in Fiji, even before the ministry recorded the first two cases at the border.

Dr Fong in an interview said the increase in Omicron cases in Fiji cannot solely be attributed to the reopening of Fiji’s international border.

 “Now, you all know that Omicron on the day we reported it - was already in our quarantine facility," he said.

 "The day it was reported, it was already in many of our travel partner countries. “Nobody knew it was there, we only got aware of it after we started opening.

“So it is of no surprise to me that we had Omicron in our community. “And we cannot attribute it just to the opening. This is the very natural way that highly visible viruses happen.”

Dr Fong said the ministry’s border quarantine measures were only focused on avoiding a variant coming into Fiji that the rest of the world has not yet known about.

“If we become the focus of the first variant identified, all the initial punitive measures that they do against countries will start from there.

“So that is what we want to avoid and that’s why most of our protocols, we’re targeting red-listed countries with an escalated departure on the protocols.

 “I think that the question of whether opening the border has contributed to Omicron is not relevant in this space because of the high transmissibility of the virus,” he said.

He said the variant has been shown to evade immunity against infection in people who have been infected with previous variants and those who have been fully vaccinated.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka




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