Celebrating Christmas while still being vigilant in a Covid-19 world

This Christmas will be a true celebration for the Havea family of Christchurch after three members of their household contracted and recovered from Covid-19 earlier this year.

Seneti Havea, 47, her husband Kilifi, 42 and their daughter Frances, 19, caught the contagious virus and recovered after being forced to quarantine themselves in the large family home they share with their five other children, whose ages range from 9 to 18.

“We’ve had such a difficult year and so we can’t wait for Christmas to come together as a family and to celebrate the blessings we have received,” says Seneti.

The rest home worker says she’s unsure how she caught the virus, but since her experience, she continues to be vigilant around her family, practicing recommended health procedures, like washing hands, keeping the house sterile and always having an immediate Covid-19 test if her or any of her family members show any symptoms, like a high temperature, a sore throat, and a cough.

“I’m still scared about Covid. Once you have experienced it, that fear never goes away. We are always careful.”

Seneti tested positive at the beginning of April and soon after Kilifi and Frances also caught the virus. Once they were confirmed, the rest of the Tongan family were immediately tested for the virus. Fortunately, their other five children were not infected but it meant Seneti, Kilifi and Frances had to isolate themselves immediately from the rest of their family within their home while they battled the illness.

The family trio had no pre-existing medical conditions and were fit and healthy, so this helped when they were forced to fight a virus like Covid-19.

Kilifi told the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) in May that it was one of the hardest illnesses that he has had to endure.

“I lost my balance, and I couldn’t stand up. I was feeling cold and then hot. I had bad headaches and at times I couldn’t breathe. I could feel my energy fading and my body was aching. It was awful.”

Throughout their ordeal, the Havea family received medical and holistic support from E Tu Pasifika in Christchurch, the largest Pasifika health provider in Canterbury.

E Tu Pasifika general manager and member of the PMA, Amanaki Misa, says his clinic supported nine individuals from three different Pasifika families who contracted Covid-19 earlier in the year.

The Havea family survived Covid-19 through their resilience, their vigilance, and their faith.

Misa says, “Christmas is a time of family and celebration but as we’ve learnt this year, we must still remain vigilant with Covid-19 – wash our hands thoroughly and regularly, keep our social distancing, use the tracer app as much as we can wherever we go and if we show symptoms to get tested as soon as we can.

This will ensure our families and community can enjoy the holidays period while also staying safe and healthy”.


Date: Friday 25 December 2020