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By Lice Movono, RNZ Pacific correspondent in Suva

Fiji has reported 522 new cases of covid-19 in the last 24 hours – a record number of daily cases.

The Fiji government has also confirmed three more deaths due to the coronavirus, bringing the toll to 30.

The Health Ministry said that all three were unvaccinated and had died at home or on the way to a health centre.

Two of the deaths had previously been under investigation to determine if the cause was covid-19.

A fourth under investigation has been found to be caused by a pre-existing illness.

There have now been 30 deaths due to covid-19 in Fiji, with 28 of these deaths during the outbreak that started in April this year.

The ministry issued an official reminder that home therapy was not the right remedy for the coronavirus.

Battled conspiracy theories
As health authorities record 6091 cases since the delta variant outbreak began in mid-April, the country has battled conspiracy theories, alternative treatments and vaccine reluctance.

“Steam therapy and drinking hot water are not the treatment for covid-19 and it does not protect one from contracting covid-19,” a government statement said.

“Inhaling steam (kuvui) and keeping hydrated with warm drinks are commonly used as home therapy to provide relief from a congested nasal passage, and short term instant relief from symptoms of cold or inflamed sinuses.

“They should not be taken as a treatment or protection from covid-19 infection.”

The ministry said getting vaccinated and practising hygiene measures such as wearing a mask when people left home, washing hands frequently or hand sanitising, covering the mouth while coughing or sneezing and social distancing remained the best ways to stay protected against the pandemic.

The measures also helped to stop the transmission of the virus from one person to another.

In addition, the government has also reminded those who have been told to quarantine at home because they have come into contact with someone who is positive that they should do so for as long as they have been told to.

Three deaths reported
Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the three deaths reported today, a 93-year-old woman, a man, 60, and a 56-year-old woman, all from Lami, were unvaccinated and either died at home or on the way to hospital.

Eight people who have died as a result of covid-19 in just over a month either died at home or on their way to hospital, prompting calls from the government urging people to get to health facilities once they experience covid-19 symptoms.

“As expected, with the increasing cases numbers we are also seeing increasing numbers of people with severe disease, and more deaths in the Suva-Nausori containment zone. It remains a serious concern that some people with severe disease come to a medical facility only in the late stages of their illness,” Dr Fong said.

“And we are still sadly seeing people with severe disease die at home or on the way to hospital, before our medical teams have a chance to administer what could potentially be life saving treatment.”

Fijian health authorities are running an average of 3144 tests per day and 10.4 percent of those are positive.

Meanwhile, 317,461 adults have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 52,001 have received their second dose. Health authorities still have to reach 91.1 percent of the 650,000 target population.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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