P.M.'s mood influenced by oxygen deprivation: M.P.

A Member of Parliament, Afoa Faleulu Mauli, claims recent outbursts by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, are symptoms of a lack of oxygen intake caused by his wearing of a facemask. 

The representative for Palauli West said the facemask, which Tuilaepa has taken to wearing recently to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus, had caused the Prime Minister to be stressed and angry at times. 

The claims led to the M.P.'s being immediately rebuked in Parliament for making light of the coronavirus.

But speaking in Parliament, Afoa criticised the people who encouraged the Prime Minister to mask up, saying he had been "conned" into doing it.

“The mask is causing your stress," Afoa said, "because there is not enough oxygen going inside you and that makes you [stressed] and angry."

“That is the reason why the Prime Minister was angry at our sister Deputy Prime Minister because of his mask. But had he removed the mask, nothing would’ve happened. 

“When he wore the mask again, he also argued with my brother [M.P.] and that is why we shouldn’t use this.” 

Afoa insisted that the only people that should be using protection masks are surgeon doctors. 

But the Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, disagreed. Faimalo rebuked the M.P. for making fun of the coronavirus pandemic, which is the reason face masks are being worn. 

She reminded Afoa that the Government has spent a lot of money on its response to the coronavirus pandemic with the activation of the National Emergency Operation Center to advise Cabinet on the global situation. 

“My concern is the statements from the M.P. will mislead people and our efforts to prevent the disease will be pointless,” said Faimalo. 

“The nation is listening and we are not children, we are leaders of this country. We laugh as if it’s a movie and I’m deeply disappointed by this if we allow this while our country is listening to us…”

The Minister said a lot of money has already been spent on the Government response to the pandemic and people should not have second thoughts about the risks of COVID-19.  She pointed out that the measles was a lesson for Samoa and it weighs heavily on her mind because she saw what happened. 

“if this disease enters [our shores], I believe that only the love of God will save us,” she said. “During the measles time we had a lot of medical teams that came to help us but this time we won't have that support anymore.” 

Faimalo added that there are currently only 68 doctors serving the hospitals in the country including those being posted in district hospitals and in the island of Savai’i. 

She said the number of doctors is not enough to accommodate the needs of the country and will have to depend on the love of God. 

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi also took the floor. He pointed to Brazil and the United States where the death toll is extremely high because their leaders ignored advice from doctors to enforce measures to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Tuilaepa told the M.P. it is best to move on to another matter because what he is talking about is quite complex. 

Earlier on during Afoa’s speech, the M.P. downplayed the impact of the coronavirus and its casualty rate. 

The M.P. described the coronavirus as being the “cousin” of the Spanish flu that had a much higher casualty rate.

He said people should not be afraid of the virus, saying it's no different from the flu that causes a person to cough. 

But the Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, took the floor for clarification. 

He told the M.P. that as a doctor, he was not going to let the member continue his speech on the virus considering he does not understand its implication and impact. 

Tuitama said the coronavirus is a new bacteria and the antibodies would not be able to fight it. He explained because there is no vaccine for coronavirus, it is dangerous and life threatening.

In addition, the Minister said that everyone needs to pray that a vaccine is found sooner rather than later so that it can vaccinate people to develop antibodies to fight the bacteria. 

He hopes that by the time the virus reaches Samoa a vaccine is developed so that it can protect the country from it. 

Deputy Speaker of the House, Nafoitoa Talaimanu Keti, also warned Afoa against speaking about topics relating to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But Afoa insisted that he will visit the Prime Minister to talk to him about the remedies for the coronavirus. 

He added that he has the cure and will advise the Prime Minister about it. 

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