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Prior COVID testing no longer required for travelers departing from Apia or Honolulu

Dr. Elizabeth Lauvao
No quarantine required if you test negative upon arrival in Pago

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Health Department has recommended that passengers who originate from the U.S and Samoa ports, no longer be required to get tested for COVID 72-hours prior to departure for American Samoa, but these travelers will still undergo testing upon arrival in Pago Pago.

The recommendation — shared by DoH clinical service acting director, Dr. Elizabeth Lauvao during the department’s presentation at Tuesday’s virtual COVID-19 Task Force news conference — comes at a time when American Samoa is slowly easing COVID-19 Emergency Declaration restrictions and more commercial flights to the territory are being added.

Weekly flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago began on June 2 and DoH required travelers to have one negative COVID-19 test 72-hours prior to departure for American Samoa instead of the previous policy of two tests.

Passengers who travel from outside the U.S — meaning, traveling to the territory via the U.S — must have had the 72-hour test done in the U.S.  The test results are uploaded to ASG’s TalofaPass websystem, which monitors entry into the territory.

The governor’s current emergency declaration — effective May 28 — eases many internal restrictions, as the number of positive COVID-19 positive cases as a result of the community spread of the deadly virus, continue to decline. And there have been queries from off-island travelers as to whether American Samoa will ease other entry requirements especially COVID tests prior to departure.

During Tuesday’s news conference, Dr. Lauvao announced that DoH’s recommendation is that, “no more pre-travel COVID-19 testing” for passengers prior to departure to American Samoa from Honolulu and Apia, Samoa, effective as of the week of June 13.

However, travelers will be tested upon arrival at Pago Pago International Airport, she said, noting that passengers originating from outside of the U.S and Samoa must stay in Apia or the U.S at least 72-hours and get COVID tested and upload it to Talofa Pass 72 hours prior to departure to American Samoa.

Dr. Lauvao was asked by the news media for an explanation behind the recommendation to do away with testing prior to departure for Pago Pago and what is the protocol for travelers who test positive upon arrival in the territory.

She pointed out that the omicron variants of COVID-19 virus identified in the U.S, have also been found here — referring to the BA1, BA1.1 and BA2. “So we decided to let go of that 72-hour test” prior to departure, she said.

 Additionally, most of the test sites are difficult to find in the U.S. and therefore travelers are having a hard time finding a testing site for travelers departing out of Hawai’i.

During one of the news conferences last month, Dr. Lauvao echoed concerns raised by travelers from the U.S of the “hardship our people” face with getting the tests done and that it’s been difficult for travelers to find a place to get an appointment to be tested in the U.S prior to travel here.

At this week’s news conference, Dr. Lauvao noted that travelers would still be tested upon arrival in Pago Pago. And travelers who test negative can go home and “there’s no restrictions of movement, there’s no quarantine, only to check in on TalofaPass for five days and that’s it,” she explained.

And if the traveler shows symptoms the traveler must get tested on island and treated if needed.

For the traveler who tests positive, that individual is transferred immediately to the DoH supervised isolation facility for five days and then released to home, where they undergo 10-days and also check in on Talofa Pass.

“I want to make sure that everybody knows that there’s no more quarantine, they go home, there’s no more restriction of movements but they need to check in on Talofa Pass and still continue to wear their mask, [observe] social distancing and all other protective measures,” she said.


Dr. Lauvao said DoH is supporting an increase in the number of passengers — from 28 to 50 a day — on flights between Pago Pago and Apia.

Flights on the inter Samoa route are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while flights for Manu’a are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Dr. Lauvao also revealed that effective yesterday June 8, travelers between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group will no longer require COVID-19 testing prior to departure.

DoH data presented by Dr. Lauvao during the news conference shows the number of positive cases in Manu’a has remained low, with only two positive cases for the week of May 30 to June 5. Overall total cumulative positive cases for Manu’a stands at 70 since the community spread was first recorded on Apr. 27 at Faleasao Village on Ta’u island.

So far the island of Olosega remains COVID-19 free.