Fiji locks down COVID-hit settlements

The Pacific Island nation of Fiji is grappling with nearly 300 new COVID-19 cases a day linked to the highly transmissible Delta variant

... and that in a population of less than a million.

Fiji weathered the early stages of the pandemic by closing off its borders - a move which kept transmission under control while decimating its bustling tourist industry.

This latest outbreak has been linked to a breach in quarantine facilities.

The community of Quaia has been sealed off - a tightly-controlled zone with only health workers allowed in or out.

"The names of the sick haven't been publicized. We don't know who is sick, including our relatives. So we've arranged for food and other things to be taken into the zone for our relatives."

Fiji is not alone.

Other Pacific nations like Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia have also seen a rise in cases.

International health organizations say it's a wake-up call.

Katie Greenwood from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies urged Fijians to get vaccinated.

"It is not an inevitability that we will see COVID taking over in the Pacific. People are well co-ordinated, governments and humanitarian organizations are working together. They are learning lessons from across the Pacific and across the globe, and the importance of the vaccination campaign is absolutely paramount."

Nearly 50% of Fijians have received at least one dose so far.

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