American Samoa closes its borders to Samoa

The American Samoa Government has suspended all flights to and from Samoa along with the weekly surface trip by the Lady Naomi. 

The declaration comes after Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi announced that Samoa has registered a positive result for a coronavirus case.

The border closure was announced by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga on Friday (Samoa Time). 

“Governor Lolo, while sympathetic over this regrettable news, he is now taking decisive actions to ensure that we continue to keep American Samoa coronavirus free with the issuance of the order. This order will remain in effect until further notice," the statement said. 

On Thursday, the Samoa Government announced that a sailor was tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will be tested once more on Saturday, with samples being sent to New Zealand to fully confirm whether the coronavirus has arrived in Samoa. 

In a press conference Director-General of Health Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said his first positive test on Wednesday and second two test results were negative, but the Ministry of Health is operating on the assumption that the case is positive while investigating whether there could have been human error involved in any of the tests.

Leausa said the Ministry is sending swabs to New Zealand on Friday to determine where the case is a “true positive or false negative,” and has contacted Italian officials to learn his medical history while employed in Italy.

The Ministry expects results from New Zealand the same day. All 274 passengers who arrived in Samoa on Friday 13 November were tested on Wednesday and will be monitored closely for the next nine days, Leausa said, but so far just one sailor has tested positive.

The sailor, like all other passengers on the flight, boarded with a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel.

In the statement, the Governor had since instructed Director of Health, Motusa Tuileama Nua, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, Faumuina J. Faumuina Jr., to connect with their counterparts in Samoa to forge appropriate collaboration to curtail the spread of this virus. 

“Furthermore, the Director of Port and Airport Administration Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele and the D.O.H. were also directed to revisit their protective protocols at the seaport to improve their efficacy preempting the accidental importation into our territory of the coronavirus by fishing and cargo vessels," Governor Lolo said. 

“We wish the Prime Minister and the people of Samoa well and we pray that the spread of this deadly virus is speedily contained and eradicated. 

“Our people should remain calm and untroubled as we have taken all precautions to safeguard and protect the lives of our people and to keep our home free from the coronavirus”.

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