Pago travelers to require clearance
Health clearance from the Ministry of Health will be required for Samoan and United States passport holders seeking to enter American Samoa, in a new measure to contain the coronavirus.
The requirement is part of a new travel advisory issued by the American Samoa Department of Health’s Director, Motusa Tuileama Nua, over the weekend.
“Effective immediately, U.S. and Samoan passport holders entering American Samoa from the Samoa route must have a health exam clearance by the Ministry of Health 14 days before entry,” the notice reads.
“All OK board, entry permits, and transit permits for foreign nationals are suspended. All entry permits will adhere to a 30-day permit.”
Motusa noted that the requirement will extend to American Samoa residents before travelling to Samoa.
Talanei news reports that Motusa said the requirement is to discourage local residents from traveling to Samoa during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Director said even though there are no reports of a confirmed case of the virus, the American territory cannot take any chances of the disease reaching its shores and potentially overpowering its health resources.
A recent order by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, which extended and expanded a state of emergency order in place in the territory, did not include the new health clearance requirements.
Motusa said the Governor’s order empowered health authorities to issue any policies deemed necessary to protect the territory from public health risks.
Last week, an American couple was quarantined in Leone after they were denied entry in Samoa.
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.
Motusa said 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.