The number of active Covid-19 cases in Fiji stands at 223 following the discovery of dozens more over the weekend.

There were 23 new cases reported on Sunday, 18 on Saturday and 46 on Friday. According to Health Secretary James Fong they are all related to existing clusters.

Fiji has recorded 401 cases since the first case was detected in March of last year, with 164 recoveries and four deaths.

Dr Fong said funeral gatherings appear to be a factor in the spread of the virus.

He said people gathering in small spaces such as large families at home, dormitory-style living, crowded settlements and work spaces with poor ventilation are also contributing to the surge in cases.

Earlier, the health secretary called attention to what he described as the troublesome nature of final rites which heightened the risk of coronavirus infection.

Dr Fong said funerals were the spreader events of the current outbreak of the Indian B.1.617 variant of Covid-19.

He called on Fijians to adjust funerals and while he acknowledged it was a difficult time for all involved, he asked that people adjust activities to suit the current situation.

Dr Fong is urging a limit of 10 people at funerals, and is also warning against common sharing of cups at kava ceremonies.