Restrictions rise with coronavirus toll

More than 300 people have now died from the coronavirus outbreak as countries worldwide move to curtail travel to and from China. 

The deathtoll of the virus reached 304 on Sunday with the number of infected patients exceeding 14,000. A total of 2000 are listed as being in a serious restrictions.

The United States and Australia announced that foreign nationals who have recently traveled to China will be denied entry to their countries. Foreigners from Wuhan are now also banned from entering Japan. 

Viral infections have now been confirmed in 25 countries.

The spread has led countries including Samoa to tighten inbound and outbound restrictions on travelers from countries with confirmed cases of the virus to avoid the rapid spread of the illness.

Air New Zealand has suspended flights to China with flights to Shanghai to be suspended until the end of March.

Australia's national carrier, Qantas, followed suit on Saturday with a ban to take effect until the end of February.

Air India announced on Sunday it would be the latest nation to launch a mission to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, the city in which the virus originated.

An estimated 10,000 flights to China have now been cancelled or rescheduled according to international flight tracking data. 

Meanwhile the Samoa Government on Saturday published a Health Travel Advisory in relation to the virus.

The advisory states that all travelers entering Samoa are advised to take note of requirements such as being required to fill out a special health declaration while inflight or upon arrival in Samoa.

“Compulsory screening of all arriving passengers to Samoa is now in effect at all ports of entry,” the advisory states.

It also added that all travelers originatingfrom or transiting through mainland China, must spend at least 14 days self-quarantining at a country free of the virus and must undergo medical clearance within three days of arrival in Samoa.

“If in the event you arrive within the 14 day period, health quarantine measures will be applied," the advisory warns.

“Return to the country of travel origin will be considered if the traveler is a non-resident.”

Travelers from countries and states will be subject to the restrictions including: America (specifically those travelling from California, Washington, Arizona, Illinois), France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Vietnam, Canada, Italy, UK and Northern Ireland.

“This medical clearance is required for check-in prior to issuing of boarding passes. All Travelers Transiting through the listed countries [and] states for 24 hours or more are required to provide a medical clearance at last port before onward travel to Samoa.

“Updated lists will be available every two days on the Government of Samoa and Samoa Ministry of Health websites.

“All sea port entries will be screened at the quarantine buoy before the vessel docks at the wharf.”

The Government also advised all travelers leaving Samoa that it is strongly recommended that people intending to travel to China and any country affected by the virus postpone their travel arrangements.

“Preventive measures should be adhered to at all times in the event that travel cannot be postponed," the Government warned.

“Be aware of the signs and symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus which include: fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.”

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?