DoH ends paper version of Traveler Declaration form starting Jan 1
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Future travelers to American Samoa are being urged to use the American Samoa Traveler Declaration online platform to fill out the health declaration form, as the Health Department plans to do away with the paper form come Jan. 1, 2023.
This was announced during Tuesday’s COVID-19 Task Force briefing, where the chairman, Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale, who is also the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR) called on the ASG Hawai’i Office team to continue to assist travelers to the territory at the Honolulu airport.
As previously announced by the Governor’s Office, as of Dec. 1 this year, the Lemanu-Talauega Administration ended COVID-19 Emergency Declaration restrictions, as the government moves to open borders at the start of the new year.
For entry into the territory, the government launched — effective Nov. 15 this year the online platform, the American Samoa Traveler Declaration portal.
“A traveler entering American Samoa must complete a health declaration. For convenience, traveler can submit responses using this online web portal, or traveler will be required to complete a health declaration paper form upon arrival in American Samoa,” according to information on the portal.
At this week’s task force briefing, Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua announced that by Jan. 1, 2023 the manual health declaration form — the paper form — filled out upon arrival “will go away” or be eliminated, however the electronic form will continue.
He said DoH will continue to work with Honolulu-based Data House and their local office, to make sure that the online portal is completed — but he didn’t explain further on what he meant by this statement.
(Samoa News notes that Data House is the contractor for the portal, which was initially the TalofaPass.)
According to the director, any traveler who does not register on the portal will have to do so, as the health information will be disseminated to all supporting agencies. The information will also be used for surveillance and close-contact tracing in the event of a new outbreak of any disease in the future.
The online portal provides details of how to create a travel profile, what’s needed for the profile; travel information; and responses to travel declaration questions — which are uploaded to the new portal.
Motusa noted that he is not sure why Immigration, Customs and Agriculture’s Quarantine Division — all agencies that play a role on travelers entering the territory — don’t have their own electronic form on the online portal. But he said DoH is happy to assist in anyway.
Meanwhile, Talauega requested that the ASG Hawai’i Office team continue to be at the Honolulu airport during departure of Hawaiian Airlines flights for Pago Pago to help navigate travelers heading to the territory.
He noted that there are now three weekly flights with the extra holiday flight on Wednesdays.
“Please continue to have your team at the airport to make sure that no one is left stranded in Hawaii,” Talauega told the Hawaii office team.