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Geneva, Switzerland – July 16, 2021: 11.50am (UN NEWS CENTRE): The Delta variant’s spread, along with increased social mobility and the inconsistent use of proven public health measures, is driving an increase in both case numbers and deaths, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the recent data in an address to the Emergency Committee on COVID-19, established under the International Health Regulations (IHR), a treaty that guides global response to public health risks.

Recalling the sustained decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths that was being driven, in recent months, by increasing vaccination rates in Europe and North America, he sounded alarms over the fresh reversal of that positive trend.

“Unfortunately…we are now in the early stages of a third wave,” he said.

Last week marked the fourth consecutive week of rising cases of COVID-19 globally, with increases recorded in all but one of WHO’s six regions. Deaths are also rising again, after 10 weeks of steady decline.

Meanwhile, said Tedros, the virus is continuing to evolve, resulting in more transmissible variants.

“The Delta variant is now in more than 111 countries and we expect it to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide, if it isn’t already,” he said.

The spread of the Delta variant – one of the main drivers of the current increase in transmission – is also being fuelled by increased social mobility and the inconsistent use of proven public health and social measures.


Fiji records 1,220 new cases of COVID-19, Five deaths reported

Suva, Fiji (PACNEWS): Fiji has gone over the 1,000 cases of COVID19 recorded in a day.

Fiji’s positive case number reached 1,220 and five new COVID-19 deaths Thursday.

Permanent secretary for Health, Dr James Fong said the five new deaths reported for the period of 10 July to 13 July.

Dr James Fong of Fiji

“The first a 61-year-old woman from Kinoya who died at home on 10/7/2021. Her family reported that she was feeling unwell with generalised body pain, weakness and a sore throat for 10 days. She was not vaccinated.

“The second COVID-19 death to report is a 62-year-old man from Tacirua. He presented to the CWM Hospital emergency department in severe respiratory distress. He died in hospital on the same day (13/7/2021). His family reported that he was unwell with fever, cough and generalised weakness for three days prior. He was not vaccinated.

“The third COVID-19 death to report is a 66-year-old woman from Nabua who died at home on the 13/7/2021. Her family reported that she was feeling unwell with a cough and shortness of breath for 3 days. She was not vaccinated.

“The fourth COVID-19 death to report is a 60-year-old woman from Verata who died at home on the 13/7/2021. She was not vaccinated.

“The fifth COVID-19 death to report is a 78-year-old woman from Nauluvatu Village. She was retrieved from home by a medical team and transferred to a healthcare facility. She was noted to be in severe respiratory distress. She died in the healthcare facility on the same day (13/7/2021). She was not vaccinated.

“There have been two more deaths of COVID-19 positive patients. However, their deaths have been classified as non-COVID deaths by their doctors. Doctors have determined that these deaths were caused by serious pre-existing medical conditions and not COVID-19,” said Dr Fong.

He said there have now been 74 deaths due to COVID-19 in Fiji, with 72 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.

“We also have recorded 31 COVID-19 positive patients who died from the serious medical conditions that they had before they contracted COVID19; these are not classified as COVID-19 deaths.

“There are eight other deaths currently under investigation. These will be discussed once investigations (including test results) and classifications are complete,” Dr Fong explained.

He said based on available testing numbers, the national 7-day daily test average is 3772 tests per day or 4.3 tests per 1,000 population.

“These numbers are expected to increase once all lab testing number data is received.

“The national 7-day average daily test positivity is 18% and continues on an upward trend,” said Dr Fong.

As of the 14th of July, 377,090 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 73,127 have received their second doses. This means that 64% of the target population have received at least one dose and 12.5 % are now fully vaccinated nationwide.

The 7-day average of new cases per day is 746 cases per day or 844 cases per million population per day, he said.

“Average daily case numbers are increasing, together with cases of severe disease and deaths.

“Sadly, people with severe COVID-19 are still dying at home or they are coming to a medical facility in the late stages of severe illness. Severe COVID-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces your chance of recovering from the disease,” Dr Fong said.


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