UN ‘relieved' NZ agreed to treat Covid-infected Fijian staffer

The United Nation’s Fijian coordinator is “relieved and happy New Zealand’s stepped up to the plate” after the Government initially declined to medically evacuate a Covid-19 infected patient from Fiji.                                                                                             

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The aid worker had been battling Fiji's outbreak when they contracted the virus. Source: 1 NEWS

By Isobel Prasad, Te Karere Producer

The patient, who is a senior United Nations employee, was rushed to Auckland earlier today for hospitalisation, taking off on a special charter flight from Nausori Airport in Suva just after 3pm.

UN Fiji coordinator Sanaka Samarasinha told 1 NEWS his colleague had spent the past week in Suva’s Colonial War Museum in a serious condition.

“A clinical decision was made in consultation with local, United Nation and New Zealand doctors that she needed a level of care that could be offered in New Zealand,” he said.  

She’s one of several staff members in Fiji’s United Nation’s office who have been infected with the disease.  

Medical staff load a Covid-positive UN aid worker into a plane bound for New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

The request was earlier declined due to “capacity reasons”, but the Ministry of Health said this had changed as "the fluidity of the situation at the metro-Auckland DHB ICUs determined this treatment can be provided”.

Samarasinha said doctors were able to stabilise the patient successfully before her flight to New Zealand.

“I’m not sure a longer-distanced medical evacuation would’ve worked out very well. With these types of medical evacuations, there’s always an element of risk.”

New Zealand health officials will follow strict isolation and infection prevention protocols when dealing with the patient, however are yet to confirm which hospital the patient will be treated at.