Covid outbreak has Fiji's infrastructure on brink of collapse

Fiji's infrastructure could collapse if the people of the island nation continue to take Covid advisories lightly, according to the UN's resident coordinator.

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The 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent told Breakfast medical authorities are "fighting a losing battle". Source: Breakfast

Yesterday, Fiji recorded 279 new Covid-19 cases and four new deaths - its highest daily record.

According to the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation, Fiji’s UN resident coordinator for the Pacific, Sanaka Samarasinha, says an infrastructure collapse can be expected if people continue to take advisories lightly.

He was also quoted saying that the rate of cases being recorded in Fiji is concerning as authorities battle the more contagious Delta variant.

1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver told Breakfast the outbreak has "that feel of being uncontrolled".

While Fiji's death toll from Covid-19 currently stands at 11, she says 20 people have actually died from the illness but have not been properly recorded.

"Authorities there aren't counting those nine cases because they say they died of other things," she said.

"I mean, a week ago, we're looking at an average of 65 cases a day being diagnosed - we're now looking at 166 and it's just a week later. It really does feel bad."

Dreaver said the Fiji Ministry of Health expressed concerns yesterday about a second wave amid a rise in Covid cases who had contracted the more infectious Delta variant.

A health professional assesses patients while wearing PPE gear in Fiji. Source: 1 NEWS

"What we already know - and officials are saying - it's going to get worse, and the reason that they know that is because people who are turning up positive come from really crowded settlements and so there is this huge fear, and rightly so, that there's just so many more people who are infected," she said.

Targeted containment areas have been put in place in lieu of strict lockdown measures.

Dreaver said many of the medical authorities have been infected with Covid-19 and the hospital "is a Covid centre," with New Zealand and Australian teams deployed to provide aid.

"I am seriously worried about Fiji, as is everybody."

She added that while 45 per cent of the population have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, both doses must be taken to be effective.

Dreaver called for stronger leadership, with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama "missing in action", leaving Health Secretary Dr James Fong to front the crisis.

"I think the medical authorities there are fighting a losing battle and they're doing the best they can."