Wear facemasks after quarantine: M.O.H. official

A senior Ministry of Health [M.O.H.] official has urged returning residents who’ve been cleared after their 14-day mandatory quarantine to continue to wear facemasks as a precaution.

The M.O.H. Assistant Chief Executive Officer [Health Protection and Enforcement], Mae’e Ualesi Falefa Silva, said during the Health of the Nation Program last week that there is no room for error and they continue to push for facemasks to be worn after quarantine as there international cases where the virus surfaced after 28 days.

“They [have to] advise we need to keep pushing is to always wear a facemask for those who completed their quarantine and have been released to their homes,” she said.

“There is a chance for the virus to be found from those who were in quarantine 14 days after quarantine, though they were also isolated for another 14 days.

“Because we have found from reports [international] that after 28 days, the virus can still be contracted or will only by then start to show.”

According to the A.C.E.O., all the necessary precautions that are normally applied when a person returns from travel are applied, and these include wearing facemasks in crowded places and to wash your hands. 

“So we advise all those who were in isolation for the past few weeks, to always wear masks when you’re with your families and in crowded places and churches and always clean your hands with soap, nice and clean too,” she added.

It is estimated close to 1,000 returning passengers have been released from various quarantine locations on Upolu in recent months after completing their mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

It is not known how the M.O.H. intends to monitor residents who just cleared quarantine, but they have been urged to continue to wear facemasks. 

Meanwhile, the M.O.H. has appealed to returning residents travelling on the repatriation flight back to Samoa to limit their luggage to one suitcase.

M.O.H. Assistant Chief Executive Officer [Public Health], Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen, made the appeal while talking on the Health of the Nation program last week.

He said they’ve noticed that a lot of residents returning on the repatriation flights have a lot of luggage, which is contributing to the delays in processing them.

“We’ve noticed that a majority of the passengers who touched down during the three repatriation flights that have already arrived have been bringing with them too many bags which makes it hard for the officials with regards to their work,” he said.

“Especially, it delays the process at the airport thus, we urge you to consider these things.”

It is understood passengers were advised prior to checking-in for the repatriation flight home to only have one suitcase.

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