This is the country’s biggest number of cases in a single day since the virus returned to the community following breaches at a managed isolation quarantine (MIQ) facility in Nadi last week.
The Health Ministry said eight of the cases were close relatives including the husband of the 29-year-old female from Makoi, a suburb north east of the capital Suva, whom authorities had earlier announced was infected from an unknown source.
Health Secretary Dr James Fong confirmed at a press conference earlier tonight that the woman’s husband, who is a soldier, shared a room with case 73 another soldier who was infected while handling the luggage of two Fijians who returned from India on April 10.
Four other cases were close contacts of a 53-year-old maid who was also infected while in close contact in the room of the initially-infected soldier at the quarantine facility in Nadi.
“Between the negative test result on April 10 and returning home on April 12, he had close contact with case 73, the border quarantine soldier who had also tested negative on 10 April and likely got infected shortly after swabbing.
“Unfortunately, this soldier, who is the husband of the Makoi case, came into contact with case 73, before case 73 was found to be positive.
“The current information indicates that the lady from Makoi caught the virus from her husband.”
Dr Fong said given the timeline of infection, the Makoi woman was now confirmed to be the first local transmission of the virus.
Tempering the news, Dr Fong said initial investigations indicated the Makoi family had a large number of contacts in the community.
He has made a plea for people who attended a church service in Nadi on April 18 or had travelled from the main island, Viti Levu, to any of the outer islands including Vanua Levu from Monday April 19 to contact the health authorities.
“Our likely window of transmission for the family, starting with the husband extends from Monday April 12 to Sunday April 25.
“So of now, there are 36 active cases in isolation, 14 of which are border quarantine cases, with 22 locally transmitted cases.”
Meanwhile, containment zones and escalated restrictions which began in the central eastern division on April 25 remained the same.
The Central Division including the capital Suva, Lami, Nasinu and Nausori are in lockdown effective on Sunday for the next 14 days.
Dr Fong said beginning at 4am Monday local time, the greater public will not be allowed in or out of the following containment zones of Lami, Suva, Nasinu and Nausori areas.
“For a period of 14 days, we will be closing off exits at the following checkpoints starting from 4am on 26 April: from Wainadoi to Tamavua-i-Wai to the 8 Miles bridge, and to Logani Village on the Kings Road.
“Similarly, the Nadi-Lautoka area will be divided into two zones – Nadi Zone will begin from Momi Junction to Lomolomo Police Post and from Lomolomo Police Post to Nacilau.
“The current free movement between Lautoka to Nadi will no longer be allowed for the next 14 days beginning 26 April.
“Again, I want to urge all Fijians to stay the course and follow the measures that are necessary to contain this outbreak and get us back to normal,” Dr Fong said.
“Our containment areas are necessary and unavoidable because they are the only way to stop this infection from spreading.
“Please remain at home and try to take care of all necessary business-such as shopping for groceries and other necessities-in your immediate neighborhoods.”
Fiji now has had 103 Covid-19 cases, 36 actives (22 in the community and 14 in MIQ) with 65 recovered and two deaths reported.