Samoa Observer

Being vigilant while celebrating our 60th essential

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Being vigilant while celebrating our 60th essential

By The Editorial Board 13 May 2022, 6:00AM

The countdown has started to the celebration of Samoa’s 60th Independence Anniversary which formally gets underway in over two weeks from 1 June 2022.

The Government's official launching of the anniversary logo and theme on Wednesday set the wheels in motion for the year-long program, which starts 1 June this year and ends 31 May next year.

However, some three hours prior to the launching in front of the Faumuina Mata'afa Fiame Mulinu'u (F.M.F.M.) building in Apia on Wednesday, the Government Press Secretariat released the Ministry of Health’s Situational Report on the COVID-19 Pandemic which advised of another coronavirus death.

The death of the 80-year-old man last Saturday – whose medical history was briefly highlighted in the M.O.H. report on Wednesday – was a stark reminder to the Government and the public of the need to remain vigilant, as we begin preparations to celebrate the country’s independence anniversary.

According to the Ministry, the deceased had known comorbidities, was bed-bound as well as unvaccinated. He succumbed to respiratory failure due to COVID-19 last Saturday with his death increasing the country’s total death toll to 23.

Did anyone notice the increasing number of unvaccinated citizens losing their lives to the coronavirus? According to M.O.H. data, COVID-19 related deaths among unvaccinated people now stands at 15, which represents 65 per cent of the total number of fatalities from the virus thus far. 

A number of these deaths are of elderly members of our population between 80 and 90 years of age. Some of them are bed-bound and immobilised, which points to one major factor that led to their exposure to the virus: either an infected family member or a person of interest exposing them to infection.

So as we begin preparations for the 60th Independence Anniversary celebrations over a fortnight away, let us encourage friends, families and relatives who are yet to be fully vaccinated to complete their doses and to get their booster shots while exercising the mandatory health protocols at home to keep the virus away.

With the country still under Alert Level 2, following the Government’s announcement of the easing of restrictions through the issuing of a new State of Emergency (S.O.E.) Orders last Monday, you get the feeling a lot of citizens have taken their foot off the pedal and are out in public without face masks and not exercising social distancing.

Let us make an effort not to bring the virus back to our homes when out and about in public places, especially those with family members who have been diagnosed with comorbidities or are living with terminal diseases such as cancer.

Early this month the Samoa Observer revealed details of the Government’s master plan for the celebration of the 60th Independence Anniversary, with all constituencies taking the lead to host events, with the main programme to coincide with the 2022 Teuila Festival in September this year.

Amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic with community cases continuing to rise on both Upolu and Savai’i as well as Manono, it makes sense to stagger the events by delegating some of the anniversary celebration responsibilities to the constituencies so they are held outside the capital, to avoid thousands descending on Apia in a single day to celebrate and in the process become coronavirus super-spreader events.

The country’s health infrastructure as well as the workforce has been under enormous strain since the first community case was recorded on 17 March 2022 so lets avoid attempts to act with recklessness during the months of historic celebrations.

Out of respect and love for Samoa and its people, let’s give back to the nation and our fellow compatriots by celebrating with respect while adhering to the full Government and Ministry of Health-sanctioned COVID-19 protocols to reduce the risks of infection for our families as well as others in the community.

By The Editorial Board 13 May 2022, 6:00AM
Samoa Observer

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