Update: COVID risk for travelers to American Samoa “high” — in Samoa “unknown”
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — While COVID-19 risk in American Samoa is “high”, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says the virus risk in independent Samoa is “unknown,” according to the Aug. 6th CDC global travel recommendation bulletin.
As the COVID-19 situation around the world changes, CDC says it’s monitoring COVID-19 risk in each country and making travel recommendations. The CDC places the two Samoas on Warning - Level 3.
American Samoa and Samoa — according to their respective health officials — have stated that the two-Samoas have no confirmed cases, and air travel remains closed between the two countries except under certain circumstances, such as repatriation of American Samoa residents form Apia last month.
According to CDC, “COVID-19 risk in American Samoa is high” and it recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to American Samoa. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to American Samoa, the federal agency says.
CDC points out that some examples of “essential travel” may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies. It recommends that older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to American Samoa.
“If you get sick in American Samoa and need medical care, resources may be limited,” said CDC, noting that local policies “may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter American Samoa. If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time.” (For CDC info: www.cdc.gov)
All commercial flights in and out of American Samoa are closed at this point except private aircraft and military flights including the weekly cargo flight from Honolulu. Provisions of the governor’s latest COVID-19 emergency declaration outlined requirements for those entering the territory such as getting negative COVID-19 test 72-hours prior to arrival and required 14-day quarantine. (See Samoa News edition Aug. 3rd for details.)
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga in the current 7th Amended declaration noted with concern the spike in the number cases in the US including Hawaii — where as of 12noon, Saturday, Aug. 8th, Hawaii health authorities reported 231 new cases bringing the state’s total to 3,346 with 2,964 cases recorded so far for Honolulu county. The death total has reached 31.
Flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago remain suspended through Aug. 31st.
“COVID-19 risk in Samoa is unknown,” said CDC, noting that Samoa has not reported data on COVID-19 cases to the World Health Organization. CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Samoa. Some examples of essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies.
Updates on Samoa government’s COVID-19 declarations are on its website [https://www.samoagovt.ws].