Parliament closed, quarantine facilities overrun as Delta COVID-19 strain rips through Fiji
Reporting by Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Fiji’s Parliament has been forced to close as COVID-19 cases surge in the Pacific island nation, overwhelming quarantine facilities and prompting calls for a nationwide lockdown.
After a staffer was found to be a close contact of a positive case, speaker Epeli Nailatikau said the legislative buildings in the capital Suva were shut.
“As a precautionary measure and out of an abundance of caution, the parliamentary precincts and offices will be closed with immediate effect,” he said in a statement.
Fiji went a full year without recording any community cases until April, when a second wave of infections hit.
New cases have reached daily records as the quick-spreading Delta strain — which is linked to India’s latest COVID outbreak — continues to infect Fijians.
More than 800 cases have been reported during the latest outbreak, with half of those cases identified this month alone.
A total of 35 cases were reported yesterday, a drop from the daily record of 94 on Tuesday, but Permanent Secretary for Health James Fong urged Fijians not to become complacent.
“If we are not extremely careful we could see severe outbreaks in many other parts of Fiji,” he said.