Samoa’s first COVID-19 case traveled to the US and back during height of pandemic
Apia, SAMOA — A senior doctor has revealed that Samoa’s first and so far only official case of Covid-19 who arrived into Samoa with his mother as repatriated citizens in February 2021, had actually travelled from Samoa to the US just two months prior, in December 2020.
The Clinical Director of the National Kidney Foundation and former Director of Clinical Services for Samoa, Leituala Dr Ben Matalavea has taken to social media to express his disappointment that Samoa had been exposed to unnecessary risk by people freely travelling during lockdown; calling the decision dangerous and irresponsible, asking why and how it was allowed to happen.
“I’m unbelievably astounded that this 16 year old and family were allowed to leave our country, travelled all the way to the most dangerous covid infected country the USA, in December 2020, and allowed back to our country within 3 months at the height of the covid pandemic..,” writes Leituala.
A government press release confirmed at the time, “The 16-year old Samoan national travelled with his mother from California and transited through New Zealand on Wednesday 10th February for 26 hours before arriving in Samoa on Friday 12th February 2021 on flight NZ990”.
NZ990 from Los Angeles was the first and much awaited and anticipated repatriation flight from the US since the closure of international borders in March 2020.