New emergency declaration contains major change in entry requirements
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Inbound travelers to American Samoa are required to register to enter the territory at an online travel program approved by the American Samoa COVID-Task Force, Health Department and the Department of Legal Affairs, according to an added provision to the new COVID-19 Emergency Declaration dated Aug. 12th and effective last Friday, when it was publicly released by the Governor’s Office.
The Continued Emergency Health Declaration — which is effective for 30-days through Sept. 11th, and signed by Acting Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale, who is the territory’s lieutenant governor and also the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR) — declares that American Samoa remains under Code Blue.
And while American Samoa remains COVID-free, the new declaration as well as government leaders continue to urge the public to get vaccinated for all those who qualify to get the vaccine but haven’t done so. “Vaccination is the most effective method of protecting the people of American Samoa,” the declaration states.
ENTRY INTO AMERICAN SAMOA
One major change to the new declaration, deals with a provision for inbound travelers. In previous declarations, people wanting to enter the territory were required to register with Health Department website — with the website address provided — at last 10-days prior to travel and provide documents required by the Health director. It also listed the documents to be provided including a negative COVID test 72 hours before arrival.
Under the new declaration, any person entering the territory must register with the online travel program approved by COVID-Task Force, DoH and the Department of Legal Affairs. Additionally, the GAR may make exceptions and authorize the entry of persons into the territory without using the online travel program. Furthermore, any person entering under the GAR’s exemption must comply with safety requirements mandated by the GAR.
No website address was provided for the online travel program for travelers to register.
When the Governor’s Office was asked by media to provide the address, its’ communication officer Fiafia D. Sunia explained over the weekend that the “online application is not active at the moment,” but one will be, after the contract is awarded — “after the due process by the Office of Procurement and Source Evaluation Board” for the Request for Proposal is completed.
Sunia is referring to the new American Samoa Safe Travel Program online program, which Talauega said during last Wednesday’s news conference, that the procurement process is ongoing and not completed yet.
Meanwhile, Sunia said the GAR may make exceptions but those requests, and all questions or concerns will need to be routed through the email address [email@example.com].
The new declaration also keeps in place previous provisions which continue the suspension of all entry permits until further notice with the exception of Guest Worker Permits issued for employment at the cannery or call center pursuant to local law. However, a new provision gives the GAR the authority to issue entry permits.
The new declaration continues the suspension of all regular scheduled commercial passenger flights to and from American Samoa. However, a new provision states that the GAR “may”, authorize limited scheduled flights or authorized flights based on the needs of the the territory.
And passengers of any permitted flight must comply with all entry requirements or any additional requirements contained in the “GAR’s written authorization.”
In previous declarations, it’s the governor and lieutenant governor, who may authorize flights based on the needs of the territory.
Meanwhile, ASG officials urge the community to familiarized themselves not only with restrictions for Code Blue, but also Code Yellow — if American Samoa gets one confirm case, as well as Code Red, when there is a community spread of the coronavirus.
“It a request for our community to be prepared, get more information on restrictions,” said one senior ASG official, who emphasized the importance of “keeping up to date” with details.
Of note: As in all previous declarations, Samoa News is posting with this story online the new one. The new declaration is also posted on the ASG website (www.americansamoa.gov).
Click on attachment to dowload Declaration