American's C.D.C. issues warning for Samoa

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 11 August 2020, 11:00AM

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention [C.D.C.] has issued a travel advisory warning Americans to avoid “non-essential travel” to Samoa due the country’s "unknown COVID-19 status".

The warning was issued last week as part of the C.D.C. global travel recommendation bulletin with the federal health agency adding that Samoa has not “reported data on the coronavirus cases to the World Health Organisation [W.H.O.].”

“C.D.C. recommends travelers [to] avoid all nonessential international travel to Samoa. Travelers with increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should consider postponing all travel including essential travel to Samoa,” states the C.D.C. travel advisory.

“Samoa has not reported data on COVID-19 cases to the World Health Organization [and the] COVID-19 risk in Samoa is unknown.”

The C.D.C. then urged U.S. travellers to check with Samoa’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health [M.O.H.] for details of entry requirements and restrictions for arriving passengers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.

“Local policies at your destination may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country. If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time. You may even be prevented from returning to the United States as scheduled. You might consider getting tested before your trip.” 

Other than nonessential travel, the C.D.C. added that essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons or family emergencies. 

“Older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions and others at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Samoa.

“If you get sick in Samoa and need medical care, it may be limited. Plan ahead and learn more about getting health care abroad.” 

The C.D.C. also warned that if any American citizen got sick with COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19 [even if you have no symptoms] while abroad, you may be isolated or not be permitted to return to the United States until you recovered. 

“If you get exposed to a person with COVID-19 while abroad, you may be quarantined or not be permitted to return to the United States until 14 days after your last exposure.”

The C.D.C. is a national public health institution in the United States and is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Samoa Observer is seeking comment from the U.S. Embassy in Apia on the C.D.C. travel advisory on Samoa.

Samoa currently remains COVID-19 free unlike the U.S. whose death toll according to the U.S. Johns Hopkins University as of 7pm Monday [local time] sits at 162,919 with total infections at over 5 million.

All commercial flights to Samoa from Australia and New Zealand ceased in March this year, which coincided with the Samoa Government's declaration of a state of emergency [S.O.E.] to mitigate risks associated with the global pandemic. 

Currently, there are weekly cargo flights to the Faleolo International Airport from Auckland with the repatriation flights of Samoans stranded in New Zealand push back to every three weeks.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali'i 11 August 2020, 11:00AM

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