Travelers from Samoa no longer required to under-go 3-day quarantine
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The COVID-19 Task Force has determined that travelers from Samoa will no longer need to be quarantined for 3 days — but must undergo a 24-hour surveillance period with health officials in American Samoa before being discharged.
In a press release issued this week the Task Force said the new policy takes into account the fact that Samoa – like American Samoa – is COVID free. Travelers are still required to register on the Department of Health (DOH) and the Legal Affairs’ websites, upload DOH health clearance and vaccination card, provide negative COVID-19 test and complete DOH travel declaration forms before being approved to fly here.
All travelers transiting via Samoa into American Samoa must remain in Samoa for at least 14 consecutive days before traveling to Pago Pago. This is implemented due to concerns about travelers entering Samoa from countries that have COVID cases, such as New Zealand and Australia. According to the DOH presentation at the meeting of the Task Force on Monday, July 19, the 24-hour surveillance at an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) for all travelers includes a medical check, vaccination, and a COVID-10 test prior to discharge.
REPAT 8.0 & MEDICAID CHARTERS
Travelers numbering 242 have started their 10-day quarantine at the Ohana Waikiki East Hotel for the 8th and final flight under American Samoa’s repatriation program. While close to 400 travelers were on the remaining original registration list, more than 200 have dropped off the list, opting to fly in once quarantine requirements are lifted in Hawaii.
After the repatriation program, travel bookings will be made directly with Hawaiian Airlines, which has been approved to operate limited flights in the Pago-Honolulu route.
The first non-repatriation Hawaiian Air flight is tentatively scheduled for August 26th and while there will be no quarantine in Hawaii, travelers will be required to upload and adhere to travel and testing requirements through an online web portal and mobile app –– currently being developed by the government and Task Force to be finalized in time for the August flight.
The confirmed travelers on the 8th flight will undergo their first COVID swab test on July 21 with the departure date still on schedule for July 29th. Several one-way Medicaid charters are confirmed over the next several weeks with the first charter departing on Thursday July 22nd. The August schedule for Medicaid charters are confirmed for August 5 and August 12th.
The Department of Health presented grim updates on the status of COVID-19 globally with over 188 million cases and 4 million deaths to date highlighting that the pandemic is still ongoing. In the Pacific region, the top 3 countries with reported cases are Fiji, French Polynesia, and Guam. Fiji has reported a total of 3,628 new cases and 24 deaths.
DOH epidemiologists cited this data to drive home the importance of vaccination. In Pacific island locations like Fiji, vaccination rates are as low as 10%. Guam however has a much higher vaccination rate and reported only 4 new cases and zero deaths in the past 72 hours.
As of July 19, 2021, 57% of the territory’s population has now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine while 50.5% are fully vaccinated. With the push to have American Samoa’s fully vaccinated population at 80%, more outreach in the villages are being reviewed with COVID Task Force members discussing joining health officials in a door to door vaccination campaign.
On Saturday, July 24, the final Saturday outreach program will involve a cross section of vaccination sites across the Territory at the following locations: Amouli Community Health Center, Utulei Su’igaula Fale Samoa, DYWA Tafuna Gym, Pavaia’i LDS Chapel and the Leone Catholic Church Hall.
The vaccination village map data shows that some villages in the farther east and west have vaccination rates below 50% and the door-to-door vaccination campaign will target these villages first.
(Source: COVID-19 Task Force press release)