American couple denied entry at Faleolo

An American couple was stopped from entering Samoa on Tuesday as the authorities ramp up Samoa's response to the coronavirus.

The couple was stopped at Faleolo International Airport because they allegedly displayed signs of high fever when they arrived from American Samoa. They were immediately sent back to Pago Pago.

American Samoa’s Director of Health, Motusa Tuileama Nua, confirmed that the couple was rejected at Faleolo and that they are now being quarantined in American Samoa.

“They boarded the flight on Tuesday, however, due to their high fever they were not allowed to leave the [Faleolo] terminal and were returned to American Samoa,” he said. 

“They had high fever and due to coronavirus concerns and precautionary measures, Samoa denied their entrance and they are now quarantined at Leone (in American Samoa).”

Motusa said they are in close contact with America’s Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) in terms of the couple being monitored for symptoms of the coronavirus. 

“As soon as we get the clearance and results for the couple, we will release them,” he added.

The couple’s travel itinerary originated in Miami, Florida and there are no confirmed cases in that U.S. state, according to Motusa.

Commending Samoa for taking precautionary measures at its borders, the top American Samoa health official said they were also doing the same in the American territory. 

"We are doing just the same here in American Samoa, any traveller with high fever or any symptoms they will be quarantined as soon as possible," he added.

On Wednesday evening, the Government issued a press release confirming that the American couple were among three people Border Security officials at the Faleolo International Airport denied entry as enforcement to protect the country from the Coronavirus continues.

"The travellers include a couple from the United States who transited through Hawaii arriving from American Samoa yesterday afternoon," the statement said.

"After health screening, the man and wife according to Acting Director General of Health, Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen showed flu like symptoms.

"And because the United States is now included in the list of countries with confirmed Coronavirus cases, coupled with the 14-day self-quarantine mandate, the man and wife were turned back and returned to American Samoa.

"The third traveller from China transited through Australia and was also returned to Australia for the same reasons.

"Over the weekend, 6 Chinese nationals from the Mainland China arriving from Fiji were also returned to Nadi under the same circumstances over the weekend.

"For the public’s information, the latest Updated Travel Advisory is still in effect with amendments for all travellers transiting through countries with confirmed virus cases including China for 24 hours or more are required to provide a medical clearance at last port before onward travel to Samoa."

To date the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has risen to five, according to the C.D.C. in a statement released Sunday. The five patients, who recently travelled to the virus’ epicentre Wuhan in China, are in isolation at hospitals in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the number of suspected cases in the United States has been growing rapidly. So far, about 100 samples from 26 states have been sent to the C.D.C. for testing. Five returned positive, 25 tested negative with the rest pending. 

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