Australia donates 500 coronavirus tests for Samoa

As hundreds of Samoans return from coronavirus-stricken New Zealand on repatriation flights, the country’s capacity to test for the virus received a much-needed boost after 500 tests were donated by the Australian High Commission. 

A total of 500 GeneXpert test cartridges arrived into the country to allow Samoa to quickly and reliably test patients for the virus.

The delivery was announced in a statement by the Australian High Commission. The cartridges arrived in Samoa last Friday.

To date, Samoa has had no COVID-19 confirmed cases making it just one of 12 United Nations member states to state that they have never had a case of the virus, most of which are in the Pacific.

"Australia, working in partnership with the Pacific-Community (S.P.C., World Health Organization (W.H.O.), the Pacific Island Health Officers Association with U.S.A.I.D. - [the] US Agency for International Development funds, and New Zealand, is supporting Pacific island countries to detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19," the statement read. 

GeneXpert testing cartridges have been delivered to 13 countries in the Pacific including Samoa.

The unprecedented global demand for COVID-19 testing equipment led to a delay on the release of cartridges from the Pacific order.

In response, and due to the urgent need in Samoa, Australia delivered 150 cartridges from Australian stocks on 3 July. 

This was in addition to the 440 cartridges already delivered to Samoa. 

Earlier this week, the Chinese Government donated anti-COVID-19 medical supplies to Samoa.

A handover ceremony took place on Monday where the Ambassador Chao Xiaoliang confirmed that the Chinese Government has urgently launched a China-Pacific Island Countries anti-epidemic Cooperation Fund, which provided US$250,000 to fight the virus’ spread. 

The emergency assistance includes: N95 respirators, disposable surgical masks, fluid-resistant isolation gowns from the Chinese government were delivered. 

Many local governments, businesses, non-Government institutions and individuals in China, including the Guangdong Provincial Government, Huizhou Municipal Government, Shanghai Construction Group and Jack Ma Foundation, have also donated supplies such as testing kits and ventilators. 

Last month the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) presented 2,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits and equipment to the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.).

Together with the 2,000 test kits is a Real Time Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) equipment which has the ability to test for COVID-19 and other diseases. 

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