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DoH asks for meeting with Hawaiian Air over manifest discrepancies

Health director, Motusa Tuileama Nua

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The last two Hawaiian Airlines flights from Honolulu recorded travelers who tested positive upon arrival at Pago Pago International Airport, according to the Health Department report, which also indicates discrepancies in the number of travelers on the passenger manifest compared to those on the approved list from the ASG TALOFAPASS websystem.

This was part of DoH’s presentation during Tuesday’s COVID-19 Task Force briefing, where according to ASG officials who attended the briefing as well as the minutes of the meeting, it was announced that the task force is looking to operate a charter flight from Fiji to bring in medical professionals recruited for the LBJ Medical Center.


For the Hawaiian Airlines flight on Aug. 4 — last week Thursday night — the DoH report states that a total of 234 travelers were on the passenger manifest, while the number of travelers on the TALOFAPASS system — the ASG websystem, which screens entry into the territory — shows 239 total travelers.

The report also states that 240 travelers were tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and 8 of them were positive and were isolated at the DoH facility as per local protocol. No additional information was available from the task force for an explanation on the discrepancies between number of passengers on the manifest, on TALOFAPASS, as well as those tested upon arrival.

DoH reported that in addition to the 8 positive cases, there were 3 individuals with “close-contact” that were also placed in isolation at a DoH supervised facility.

For the Hawaiian Airlines flight on Aug. 8 — Monday this week —  DoH reported 245 passengers including lap-children (children under the age of two sitting on a parent/travelers lap) were tested upon arrival, with two passengers who testing positive and placed in a DoH supervised isolation facility.

However, DoH reported that the passenger manifest showed a total of 238 passengers. “There were travelers that were not on the Hawaiian Airlines manifest and TALOFAPASS,” DoH reports, and noted that “7 travelers” are unaccounted for on the passenger manifest.

Overall the last two Hawaiian Airlines flight has a total of 10 positive cases from the passengers who were tested upon arrival.

Health director, Motusa Tuileama Nua requested a meeting with Hawaiian Airlines regarding the passenger manifest for incoming flights to be received in a timely manner, and not one-hour prior to flight departure out of Honolulu, according to ASG officials who attended the task force briefing.

Attorney General Fainu’ulelei Falefatu Alailima Utu in his capacity as vice chair of the task force and the acting Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR), along with Motusa met last week and again early this week with Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga and other directors regarding TALOFAPASS.

Fainu’ulelei reported to the task force briefing that the governor “wants us to streamline the process of registering on TALOFAPASS.

“If people have proper documents, we want to help them and not stop them from traveling when they get to Airport and TALOFAPASS registration is not complete.

“We want to make it easy for people to travel but at the same time, secure our borders,” according to minutes of the briefing and ASG officials.


Fainu’ulelei also announced that the task force has received the list of about ten physicians, mostly from Fiji, hired to work at LBJ hospital and they are hoping to get a list from DoH of nurses and doctors coming to work at DoH.

The AG — who led the meeting while the GAR, Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale is currently off island — said talks are ongoing with Fiji Airways to arrange a charter and requested assistance with paying some of those costs.

(Talauega participated in the meeting via Zoom from Honolulu.)

LBJ chief executive officer Moefa’auo Bill Emmsley told a news conference in late June that the hospital had implemented a recruitment process to bring additional medical professions on board by the end of the year, with the first ones to hopefully be on staff by this month.

The recruitment plan calls for hiring an additional 20 doctors as well as 20 to 25 nurses by the end of the year. (See Samoa News edition July 7 for details.)