The Latest: Fiji's outbreak surges as gov't resists lockdown
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji reported a record 431 new daily coronavirus cases on Thursday as an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant continued to grow.
Health authorities have reported nearly 5,000 cases and 22 deaths since the outbreak in the South Pacific nation began two months ago.
The government of the island nation of nearly 1 million people has resisted calls for a full lockdown as leaders try to protect an economy that last year contracted by 19% as international tourism evaporated.
Health authorities say that about 9% of people getting tested for the virus are returning positive results, a figure that has been increasing and indicates the outbreak is spreading.
Despite the growing outbreak, the government announced steps to reopen retail stores in and around the capital, Suva.
Faiyaz Koya, the minister for commerce, trade and tourism, said that without a reopening plan, some stores would need to close permanently, costing families jobs and years worth of hard-earned progress.
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