Amata points out an Air Force flight is a different circumstance
Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Uifaatali Amata released the following statement.
“It is a true blessing that we don’t have any COVID cases on the island. It is also a blessing to be part of the United States, as we celebrate every Flag Day. I respect that the Governor has a big responsibility, that COVID is a serious matter, and that these can be difficult decisions. I also appreciate the sensitivity and professionalism the Air Force has shown to this situation.
It is my belief that we should make every effort to accommodate future military flights to Antarctica, and ensure we are a welcoming long term partner with these flights.
Fortunately, we know a vaccine will soon be ready. We know that American Samoa is a strategic location, and that our quarantine center is available because of federal funding for purposes that could include circumstances like this, especially in the event of a smaller group of military personnel.
An Air Force flight is a different circumstance from a passenger flight, and the COVID testing of the Air Force before a flight to Antarctica would be thorough.
We love our Armed Forces in American Samoa, and expect that American Samoa will be a reliable stopping point for these missions for many years. I support the Department of Health in the efforts they have made to put in place a plan, both for repatriation and when they were preparing for this Air Force refueling and rest stop.”