MEDIA RELEASE 9: MEASLES UPDATE FROM THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH

27 November 2019, 8.10pm – Since the last update on November 22nd 2019 there are now 13 confirmed cases of measles. The latest confirmed cases are a 22 year old from Wailali Settlement and a 16 year old from Navunikabi, both in the Serua/Namosi Subdivision. The third case is a 1-year-old child from Vatuwaqa Suva, who was admitted at CWM Hospital but has since been discharged.

A 25-year-old pregnant woman, who was mentioned as a confirmed case in the last update, has also been discharged from isolation at the CWM Hospital. Currently there are no confirmed measles patients admitted in hospital, but this can change and the following restrictions at CWM are now in place:

  • The new visiting hour is 2.00pm to 3.00pm from Monday to Sunday.
  • Only one visitor will be allowed for each patient during the stated visiting hour.
  • Restrictions to visiting the intensive care unit for children and adults, and the designated Measles Isolation wards will be in place.
  • Triage sites are set up to assess and treat children, adults and pregnant mothers.

To date all but 2 of the confirmed cases are from, or are linked to, the Serua/Namosi Subdivision. And all the confirmed cases are in the Central Division.

Suspected cases continue to be reported, tested, and cleared when their results are confirmed negative by the National Public Health Laboratory. This includes an 11-year-old student of the Fiji School for the Blind, a suspected case who tested negative and was cleared, and a 1-year-old Kiribati national who also tested negative and was cleared.

The respective Sub-divisional Outbreak Response Teams continue to rapidly respond to notification of all cases and will not wait for a case to be confirmed by laboratory testing before launching the necessary interventions to prevent spread of the disease. The response includes isolation of the case, quarantine and vaccination of contacts and at-risk communities, as appropriate.

As mentioned in the past, the measles vaccine is now in limited supply and therefore will be prioritized to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles. Currently the free vaccine is only available to:

  • Children as per the routine national immunization schedule (at 12 months and 18 months of age). This includes children who have not received those 2 doses of the vaccine as scheduled.
  • The residents of Serua/Namosi

Contacts of a measles case will also continue to be vaccinated as determined by the respective outbreak response team.

The only exceptions to those in the above groups are pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those with a known allergy to the vaccine. These people should not be vaccinated

This current restriction will change after new vaccine stock arrives later this week – when it will be made available to further targeted groups identified by the Measles Taskforce.  More information on these groups will be released shortly in an advisory.

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Measles information

Transmission

Measles is a highly infectious airborne viral disease that spreads easily through the air through breathing, coughing, and sneezing. You are at risk of getting measles if you breathe the same air as someone with the disease and you are not immune. You are not immune if you have not been vaccinated, or you have never had the disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of measles are:

Fever and a rash with any of the following: runny nose, sneezing, cough, red/watery eyes, white spots inside the mouth. The rash starts after the other symptoms and spreads all over the body.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for measles, as it is your body’s immune system that fights off the disease. Most people recover from a measles infection in 8-10 days with rest, and ensuring that they are eating and drinking to avoid dehydration.

Complications

Some people infected with measles develop severe complications such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or encephalitis (brain swelling). These people require hospitalization. Children under the age of five (5), babies younger than one (1) year old, pregnant women, adults over the age of twenty (20), and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk of complications.

Prevention

A safe and effective vaccine exists for measles. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services provides measles vaccine free to children. Since 2003, all children in Fiji are offered two (2) doses of the combination measles-rubella vaccine – starting from twelve (12) months of age. Fiji’s immunization coverage for children is good, and the Ministry also conducted a supplemental campaign in 2017 for all one (1) to ten (10) year olds. Please ensure your children have received at least two (2) doses of the measles vaccine according to the Fiji immunization schedule. This information should be in your child’s ‘Fiji Child Health Record’ (which is a booklet/card every child born in Fiji is provided) for children under the age of 5, and the school health card for school aged children.

Measles in Fiji

Because we have an effective immunization program, measles is rare in Fiji. However, outbreaks around the world, including in neighbouring countries, still puts Fiji at risk of having cases of measles.

FSC Taps into Sports Tourism

The Fiji Times, 26 November 2019 – The Fiji Sports Council (FSC) is in talks to build accommodation near the Vodafone Arena to continue the growth of the sporting industry by tapping into sports tourism.

FSC Chairman Peter Mazey revealed this during the Fiji Institute of Accountants Symposium, stating the council had commenced with demolishment of the former Laucala Bay Secondary School.…read more

FHTA welcomes new Fiji Airways wide body aircraft

FHTA welcomes new Fiji Airways wide body aircraft

The Fiji Times, 26 November 2019 – THE Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) has congratulated Fiji Airways on taking delivery of the airline’s new Airbus A350-900 XWB.

It stated that this would help increase Fiji’s attractiveness as a destination.

“… We look forward to the huge potential for expansion into the United States and other markets,” FHTA chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington said.

“Not only does the A350-900 XWB carry more than 400 passengers, it is also capable of transporting 20 tonnes more cargo, while reducing the flying time from Los Angeles to Nadi by 30 minutes.”…read more

First Officer Gideon Leweniqila proud to be part of crew

First Officer Gideon Leweniqila proud to be part of crew

Fiji Sun, 25 November 2019 – Fiji Airways First Class Officer Gideon Leweniqila said one of the proudest moments of his life was to bring home the airlines new Airbus A350-900 XWBs.

First Officer Leweniqila was part of the flight crew, consisting of Airbus Captain Timothy Furness and Fiji Airways Senior Pilot Captain Mukesh Patel, Chief Pilot Captain Aaron Dean and Captain Richard Yuen.…read more

SCC to get foreign independent engineers to assess MHCC Tower to see if construction should continue

SCC to get foreign independent engineers to assess MHCC Tower to see if construction should continue

Fijivillage, 25 November 2019 – The Suva City Council intends to get foreign independent engineers to assess the MHCC Tower and give a confirmation whether the construction can continue or not.

This has been confirmed by the Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar.

Kumar says structural reinforcement was required on the MHCC Tower and MHCC was working with engineers from abroad on this. She they will also be submitting engineering plans.…read more

Sales rocket for A350

Sales rocket for A350

The Fiji Times, 25 November 2019 – THE manufacturers of the new generation wide-body aircraft — Airbus — have sold more than 960 of its new A350-900 series worldwide.

The new model, which was recently purchased by national carrier Fiji Airways, has been touted among the aviation industry as consisting of next generation technological equipment that offer a faster and efficient flight experience.

Airbus Pacific head of global accounts Marie-Frederique Romain said the new extra wide-body model was in high demand among global airlines.…read more

Overseas Fijians will be able to apply for e-passports at all diplomatic missions in the world – Karan

Overseas Fijians will be able to apply for e-passports at all diplomatic missions in the world – Karan

Fiji Village – 19 November 2019

Permanent Secretary for Immigration, Yogesh Karan has confirmed
Fijian citizens living overseas wanting new e-passports have to wait or come to Fiji if they are to renew their e-passport.

Karan says they will be installing the same equipment that they have in various centres in the country in all of their diplomatic missions in the world.

Karan says this will be launched in London in two weeks time. Read more…

Health Ministry confirms an interim shortage of measles vaccine and additional stocks to arrive in the coming days

Health Ministry confirms an interim shortage of measles vaccine and additional stocks to arrive in the coming days

Fiji Village – 21st November 2019

The Health Ministry confirms there is an interim shortage of the measles vaccine and additional stocks will arrive in the coming days.

It says the remaining measles vaccine stock will be prioritised to those who are at the greatest risk of catching and spreading measles and it is not available for the general public until additional stocks arrive in the coming days.

The Health Ministry says current stocks are being reserved for high-risk target groups which include residents of Serua/Namosi, children from the ages of 6 months to 3 years and people travelling overseas.

People travelling overseas must show proof travel such as their ticket and travel itinerary and not just a passport. Read more…

Resort aims to contribute to communities

Resort aims to contribute to communities

Fiji Times – 21st November 2019

THE aim of Marriott International is to contribute to communities that they operate in.

This was highlighted by the Multi-Property vice president Fiji and Samoa Marriott International and general manager Westin and Sheraton Resorts Fiji Complex, Neeraj Chadha during the launch of Marriott International for Mangroves, Rivers and Reefs.

He said the group had also committed to raising half a million dollars for such initiatives.

“We wanted to have a strategic initiative that will improve the environment and have sustainable initiatives in place so that we make the world a better place,” he said. Read more…

Best on the island

Best on the island

Fiji Times – 21st November 2019

THE exclusive Matamanoa Island Resort is an island getaway that only a few could experience annually. Nestled in the Mamanuca Group, the resort is synonymous for providing an escape for couples and adults looking to enjoy a quiet and relaxing experience.

For this very reason, Matamanoa Island Resort was home to a group of about 60 restaurant managers and employees from Canada and the United States for three nights.

The employees from North American Joey Restaurant Group made up of 24 restaurants travelled to the exclusive resort with regional executive chef Jeff Murray. Read more..

Fiji Airways A350-900 XWB, Island of Viti Levu, Shines at Dubai Air Show

Fiji Airways A350-900 XWB, Island of Viti Levu, Shines at Dubai Air Show

The Fiji Sun – 19 November, 2019

Fiji Airways A350-900 is one of the highlights at this year’s Dubai Air Show.

Fiji Airways and Airbus showcased the airline’s brand new A350-900 XWB aircraft at the Dubai Air Show.

The aircraft, Island of Viti Levu, was at the static display area of the Dubai Air Show and was visited by numerous guests.

These included UAE dignitaries, airline suppliers, senior officials from other airlines, and aviation media from around the world.

The Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who accepted the new A350 on behalf of Fiji Airways at the Airbus factory in Toulouse past Friday.

Read the full story here.

Tourism remains Fiji’s economic mainstay

Tourism remains Fiji’s economic mainstay

Fiji Times – 20th November 2019.

TOURIST arrivals increased by four per cent in the nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar highlighted this in parliament today saying that tourism remained the mainstay of the island nation’s economy.

“Our earnings from tourism in the first half of this year increased by approximately seven per cent compared to the same period last year,” Mrs Kumar said while responding to President Jioji Konrote’s opening speech. Read more…

Cruise tourism

Cruise tourism

Fiji Times – 19th November 2019

The cruise tourism industry has a lot of potential for Fiji to invest and garner more profit to the economy and sector as a whole.

With the release of the Cruise Tourism for Economic Growth in Fiji study on November 5, in Suva, a wide range of areas were highlighted which needed focus to capitalise on.

The International Finance Operations Officer – Tourism Jessie McComb said this work was closely linked to the country’s national tourism strategy Fijian tourism 2021.

According to her the FT2021’s objectives was to increase the value of tourism to the local economy and spread the value throughout the country. Read more…

Tax online service training for agents

Tax online service training for agents

Fiji Times – 18 November 2019

A NEW tax system will be implemented to make business easy for the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) and tax agents.

A statement from the FRCS said tax agents were looking forward to the taxpayer online service (TPOS) portal.

This is after tax agents attended a training session conducted by the FRCS in Suva last week.

Jaswant Kumar, who operates his tax firm Just Fiji, said the new online tax system would make their work easier and faster.

“We will be able to trace our returns and it will make things easier for us. It will make work easier for FRCS as well in terms of updating the returns and collecting revenue,” he said .Read more…

Government is taking bold action to uplift the business sector – PM

Government is taking bold action to uplift the business sector – PM

Fiji Village – 18th November 2019

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says government is taking bold action to uplift the business sector and work closely with their partners to improve Fiji’s ease of doing business ranking with the World Bank.

Bainimarama told the people present at the Prime Minister’s International Business Awards while the methodology of this ranking has shown its flaws, and certainly has not reflected how businesses like those present at the awards on Saturday have thrived in Fiji, it is important we fight any perception that Fiji is nothing less than fully open for business. Read more..

Top honours for Fiji Airports team

Top honours for Fiji Airports team

Fiji Times – 18 November 2019

FIJI Airports was the 2019 Fiji Water Supreme Award winner at the Prime Minister’s International Business Awards held over the weekend.

The state-owned enterprise was recognised for its achievements through the years in operating the Nadi International Airport, the Nausori airport and 13 outer island airports.

Fiji Airports chief executive officer Faiz Khan, who also won the Telecom Fiji Ltd Excellence in Business Leadership Award, said the accolades were a reflection of the hard work put in by their team.

“I am really humbled by it. We applied for it and we did not have any high expectations of winning, but here we are and I am truly grateful because this is because of my team,” he said. Read more…