Fiji COVID-19 hospital morgue full, Delta variant fuels record infections


CANBERRA (Reuters) – Struggling to contain an outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19, Fiji reported a record 636 COVID-19 infections and six deaths on Tuesday, the morgue at the main hospital in the Pacific island being already full to capacity.

Since the start of the pandemic, Fiji has reported a total of 39 deaths, but most have occurred since the emergence of the Delta variant in April.

Located some 2,000 km (1,300 miles) north of New Zealand, and with a population of less than one million, mostly concentrated on two islands in the archipelago, Fiji initially had managed to keep the coronavirus at bay.

The government has resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown.

The infections that have erupted in recent months were believed to have been caused by someone violating quarantine.

The Colonial War Memorial Hospital in the capital, Suva, is Fiji’s largest public hospital with 500 beds and has been tasked with treating patients with COVID-19.

On Monday, the government said many patients sought treatment too late and the hospital morgue was full, although some victims were dying at home.

“Sadly, we are seeing people with the critical illness die at home or on their way to hospital before our medical teams have a chance to administer what could potentially save lives,” the Fijian ministry said. Health in a press release sent by email.

About 54% of Fijians received at least one dose of AstraZeneca or Sinopharm vaccines, according to official data, while nearly 9% received a second.

Meanwhile, Australia announced on Tuesday that it would donate 15 million COVID-19 vaccines to Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste by mid-2022.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


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