Samoa govt is not taking a risk – cancels US repatriation flight
Apia, SAMOA — Apia media is reporting the Samoan Government has cancelled the repatriation flight from the United States that was supposed to arrive this weekend, 28 November with 290 passengers as the health risk maybe too high to take.
The Prime Minister made the announcement yesterday afternoon following a Cabinet decision to postpone the flight until sometime later.
He said the decision was not an easy one to make in the light of the increase of Covid-19 cases in the countries where most of the incoming passengers have been living since the lockdown eight months ago.
The charter flight was supposed to bring in seamen and returning residents from Europe and the United States, patients who have been treated in India and Hawaii, as well as students and missionaries. Click here to read more.
SAMOA SAILOR'S SWAB & BLOOD SAMPLES SENT AGAIN
Earlier in the week Samoa PM told reporters in Apia that “The swab samples from the seaman’s left nostril came out negative and the test on the right nostril was positive creating more confusion.”
The prime minister said such test results are common in overseas countries but are not publicized. “So we have false positives and false negatives,” he explained.
Tuila'epa said the samples were tested at the Motootua National Hospital and the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa before being sent to New Zealand.
All showed the same results.
Further samples, including blood work, will now be sent on Friday to be looked at in New Zealand with results due back to Apia the following Monday.
Blood samples are not usually sent with swab samples, according to the the Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, who said, “This is rarely done in COVID-19 cases. Unless in cases such as the (inconclusive) results on the Samoan sailor.”
“We have the same testing machine as New Zealand but we want to reconfirm from their machines if our results are correct,” said Leausa.
He also said the samples were sent to Wellington which is the only reference lab for such testing.
The positive test was the first produced in Samoa which has remained coronavirus free since the pandemic began.
Also noted in the Talmua report was that Leausa admitted that there are not enough test kits to cater for Samoa if there is an outbreak and they rely on the World Health Organization (WHO) that distributes the kits to the Pacific Island countries. He said through the UNDP, the Samoan Government has ordered 2000 more kits for the repatriation flights and suspected cases.
Today the Samoa government issued this reminder:
Ensuring that the necessary precautionary measures are strictly followed, the general public is hereby advised that access to ALL COVID-19 QUARANTINE SITES is strictly prohibited.
Authorized personnel approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) are the only ones permitted to enter the sites to conduct required services.
The Public is advised that any person who contravenes any of the restrictions in this Notice commits an offense and is liable for a $2,000 penalty under the Orders of the State of Emergency, and relevant provisions of the Disaster and Emergency Management Act 2007.
Please be reminded that the ‘COVID-19 Quarantine’ process has been put in place to maximize protection of the public from potential exposure to, or contact with the individuals in isolation.