Government expects results on COVID-19 swabs today

Samoa is expecting the results of further testing in New Zealand today, after the specimen package containing coronavirus test results arrived in Wellington, New Zealand.

New Zealand is conducting additional tests on specimens after Samoa’s first COVID-19 positive case tested negative for the virus twice between Wednesday and Thursday last week.

The Interim Chair of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Agafili Shem Leo, said the Government is “anticipating the results hopefully sometime today.”

He did not specify when exactly the specimen package arrived in Wellington but last week said the samples would be sent to New Zealand on the returning routine cargo flight on Friday 20 November.

It has not been revealed exactly whose swabs, or how many swabs, were sent to New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the repatriated sailor who tested positive and his roommate, also a sailor, have been isolating in the special ward of the national hospital in Motootua.

Five days after the test, neither have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and remain under close monitoring by health workers.

The sailor was the only person out of 274 passengers who arrived on the last repatriation flight to test positive for COVID-19. 

All the other passengers will be tested again on Friday, the day they are meant to be released from quarantine.

According to the World Health Organisation, COVID-19’s incubation period (the time between becoming infected and showing symptoms) is five to six days on average but can take up to 14 days.

This is why globally the standard for quarantine is two weeks.

During this incubation period, some infected pre-symptomatic people can be contagious, but it is not common. 

Agafili said more information will be released later today. 

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