Suva, Fiji – Additional COVID-19 testing equipment was handed over at the Fijian Centre for Disease Control (CDC) today. The equipment, including four new GeneXpert machines and kits of reagents that are essential for COVID-19 testing, had been procured with support from the Pacific Community, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Amid the detection of a string of locally transmitted cases over the past week, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete, Minister for Health and Medical Services says this will further boost their work in identifying COVID-19 transmission.
The type of test this equipment supports – known as a real-time polymerase chain reaction or ‘PCR’ test – is the most accurate form of testing currently available for COVID-19.
Dr Waqainabete, accompanied by Dr Akeem Ali, Acting Representative of WHO in the South Pacific, Mr. Sheldon Yett, Representative of UNICEF in the Pacific, and Mr. Sunia Soakai, Deputy Director of the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community, also thanked the team of doctors and nurses working tirelessly at the CDC to ensure that testing is done in a timely manner.
The three organizations reaffirmed their support to Fiji. WHO is in the process of procuring three more GeneXpert machines as well as cartridges and PCR kits so that testing capacity can be further boosted. Further shipments of personal protective equipment are also on the way supported by the three organizations.
Fiji has reported six more confirmed cases over the past 24 hours. There are currently 42 active cases in Fiji and the circulating virus is confirmed to be the B1617 variant. Testing and contact tracing have been intensified over the past week with parts of the country, including the capital, Suva, placed under lockdown.