Two Samoans quarantined, Govt. denies coronavirus claims
The Government has confirmed that two Samoan sailors are in quarantine at the Faleolo District Hospital as a precautionary measure.
But in a media statement issued tonight, it has strongly denied reports there are confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Samoa.
“There are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Samoa contrary to fake claims posted on social media via Facebook,” the statement said.
“Furthermore, the allegations that two Samoan students are quarantined and are being monitored at the Faleolo Hospital are absolutely untrue.”
But the Government confirmed that the two sailors are kept at the hospital, which has been converted into a quarantine facility.
“What is true at this point, is that 2 Samoan sailors working abroad and returning home over the weekend are quarantined at the Faleolo Health Center as a precautionary measure but it does not mean that they are confirmed to have contracted Coronavirus.”
The sailors arrived in Samoa on Sunday night from Nadi on flight FJ254 along with six Chinese passengers who were deported back to Fiji.
“The sailors had spent 2 days in China on transit to Samoa and per Travel Directive issued by the Ministry of Health and approved by Cabinet last Friday all Travelers originating FROM or TRANSIT through Mainland China, must spend at least 14 days’ self-quarantine at country of last port that is free of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”
Prior to the Government issuing a statement, the Samoa Observer was told that the men are quarantined as a precaution.
Speaking on behalf of the M.O.H., Government Press Secretariat's Nanai Lave Tuiletufuga said the two men will be detained for 14 days.
He does not know where in China they stayed, and did not reveal whether they passed or failed their airport health screening.
The novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, has the world on high alert after its discovery at the end of December in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China. So far the nation has nearly 2000 confirmed cases of the virus and at least 56 people have died.
There are confirmed cases in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, the United States, Australia and France.
M.O.H. Deputy Director General (Public Health), Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen, advised that all media queries about the novel coronavirus response must go through the Government Press Secretariat. He did not say why.
In the meantime, the Government statement says that all Samoans returning home are not exempted from the 14-day self-quarantine mandate.
“And the same also applies to all travelers from countries with confirmed cases of the virus regardless of nationality.”
*This story has been updated to reflect a statement issued by the Government tonight.