La'auli demands COVID19 transparency

The leader of Fa'atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.), La'auli Leautea Schmidt, is calling on the Government to disclose all "accurate" and "correct" information relating to the two positive tests of COVID-19 in Samoa. 

He believes the leadership of the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) should be transparent about such 

"They should not misinform the public and be open about everything related to these two cases. They should not hide information from the public," La'auli told the Samoa Observer.

The call from the Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No.3. came after the announcement of a second positive test of coronavirus for Samoa on Friday morning. 

In demanding answers, La'auli singled out the Director-General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri's refusal to reveal the quarantine site where Samoa's second suspected COVID-19 case stayed.

During a press conference on Friday morning, Leausa was asked to disclose information about where the 70-year-old man who was tested positive, stayed.

But the Health Chief refused to reveal such information. "We can't release that information," Leausa said. 

"There are reasons why we cannot tell you what you're asking for. We've learned from what happened to other countries of the world who suffered from pandemics and disease, like the spread of ebola. 

"One of the reasons why it took some time to cure and control the spread of the disease was because the community took action. People started burning hospitals, attacked the patients and health workers, and it killed a lot of people.

"It didn't happen in Samoa before, but our people are difficult people. They might start stoning the place if we disclose that information.  So we have to be very careful."

This is something La'auli said he was disappointed to hear. 

"The government is leading our mission," said La'auli.  "We are depending on the government for information and updates from time to time and what the next step would be.

"I think that's one of the reasons why our people are panicking. It's because things are uncertain at the moment and we need answers. 

"And they should not be misinformed. We are in emergency times, and every second counts. We don't want to waste any more time waiting and getting uncertain results. 

"They should tell us anything and everything relating to these two positive cases and make sure they give us the correct results."

Disclosing information about where the second suspected case of coronavirus for Samoa is vital, said La'auli.

"At this stage, they should not hide information from the public. It is their job to give and provide information from time to time and answer the questions correctly.

"We are all depending on them to take the lead in our fight against this pandemic. We need to know where this man stayed at for the past weeks and who was with him at the site and the people he came in contact with. 

"It makes everything easier." 

Turning to the public, La'auli believes that collective effort is key. 

"Let's forget about whatever happened. We need to take action from where we are now, pick up and move forward. 

"We need to remember that your safety is in your own hands. 

"We have been in lockdown for the last eight months as we safeguard ourselves from this deadly virus and prepare for a Covid-19 breakout if it was to happen. 

"The best thing we can do is to stay calm. We went in early and have so far remained covid free at our borders. 

"This is not just an effort by the Government but a collective effort by every Samoan. 

"Let us not panic, le us not misinform, let us unite, show support, be kind, and do your part to ensure our nation is safe. 

"Us political leaders won't always be perfect. But the principle of doing the right thing, at the right time for everyone is what I believe in."

On Friday evening, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, declared that the two Samoans who tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus months before arriving in the country and had historic cases they never disclosed. 

Both men, a sailor who was tested positive on 18 November, and a 70-year-old man who is now in isolation with his wife. 

The two males were part of the 274 passengers, who landed in Samoa on Friday 13 November on an Auckland-Apia repatriation flight.

An additional seven days will be added to the 14-day quarantine requirement for all 274 passengers who arrived on the Apia-Auckland flight. 

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