Many individuals who died of COVID-19, had a real chance of being saved if only the health teams were able to see them earlier.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says an internal audit of deaths indicate that much of the adverse health-seeking behaviour that predated this crisis has been potentiated by the misinformation and falsehoods promoted on social and mainstream media.

Doctor Fong says the unfortunate reality about inflammatory misinformation is that it can spread faster than the truth.

nfortunate that people from the medical community have promoted this deadly misinformation and doing so is an utter violation of the duty of care we owe the people of Fiji.”

Doctor Fong adds they are still seeing a trend of severe cases showing up late at hospitals and passing away before receiving the life-saving treatment.

78% of COVID-19 deaths during this outbreak occurred at home, or on the way to the hospital, or within two days of admission.

The PS says this gave no or little opportunity for his clinical teams to provide potentially life-saving treatment.

He highlights many of these people had been trying to treat themselves at home with herbal medicines and steam baths.

Doctor Fong stresses people who have severe COVID-19, the key to their recovery will be placing them on oxygen therapy and a ventilator, as well as giving them specific medications.

The Permanent Secretary says they are seeking communal support to help identify persons vulnerable to severe COVID-19 and pre-emptively engage them to have a plan that allows early identification of danger symptoms and signs so they can access clinical care.