Code Blue continues with latest COVID-19 declaration — BINGO back
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Evidence of full vaccination “may be required” for entering the territory and getting “approval of immigration status or issuance of immigration ID cards”, are the major changes under Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s new COVID-19 emergency declaration issued May 14th and effective for 30-days from May 18th. And American Samoa — which remains COVID-19 free — continues under Code Blue.
The new declaration points out that vaccination is the most effective method of protecting the people of American Samoa and that everyone “is encouraged to vaccinate as soon as they are eligible.”
It says that evidence of a COVID-19 vaccination “may be required” from any person, unless that person is under the age of 16 years old or the person is not medically qualified to be vaccinated, prior to:
• entering the Territory;
• approval of immigration status or issuance of immigration identification cards;
• attending K-12 school in person;
• attending college classes in person;
• visiting a person at the LBJ Medical Center, or any in-patient residential facility; and
• visiting a person at the Territorial Correction Facility.
A footnote in the document states that for the purpose of this declaration, “full vaccination” means that the “person has received the full course of vaccination and 14 or more days have elapsed after the final administration of the a vaccine.”
When the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “approves a COVID-19 vaccine, full vaccination of anyone eligible for the vaccine will be a condition of entry into American Samoa,” the declaration states, and acknowledged that LBJ, Health Department and the local Veterans Affairs clinics have been administering the COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible local residents.
The current available FDA approved vaccines are Pfizer, Moderna — being used by local health officials — and the Janssen vaccine, which as of last week, has been allowed by federal health officials to resume its use.
No major changes were made under the new declaration. A traveler entering the territory, must register with the Health Department website — americansamoapublichealth.com — at least 10 days prior to travel and provide documents required by the Health director. All previous requirements for entry remain in affect.
For scheduled flights in and out of American Samoa, they remain suspended and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor may authorize flights based on the needs of the territory.
And passengers of any permitted flight must comply with entry requirements and any additional requirements contained in the governor’s or lt governor’s written authorization.
With flights suspended between Honolulu and Pago Pago, the COVID-19 Task Force continues with its repatriation flights with the current schedule showing flights for May 28, June 13, June 29, July 15, and the last flight on July 31, 2021, according to a task force statement earlier this month. The task force is working on repatriation with Samoa and Tonga, while Fiji is on hold, following a spike in the number of cases and deaths there.
The new declaration, similar to the previous one, no longer provides specific restrictions on public gatherings and hours of operation for businesses.
Also no longer in the declaration is the prohibition of bingo games, which resumed more than a week ago. However, one church bingo game initially scheduled for last Thursday evening was cancelled after the village pulenu’u made the request to church leaders.
The COVID-19 declaration does note that “nothing in this order affects the authority of village councils to enact regulations imposing curfews or restricting public gatherings pursuant to local law A.S.C.A 5.0305.”
The declaration further reinstated what was said in previous ones that “Price Gouging is Prohibited” during a state of emergency. Samoa News has received several complaints from consumers alleging illegal price increases in the past weeks.
Samoa News referred these calls to the Consumer Protection Bureau at the Attorney General’s Office (phone contact 633-4163 and https://www.legalaffairs.as.gov), which has the authority to investigate claims of price gouging.
To read the latest COVID-19 declaration download attachment below.