Use facemasks in schools: Ministry

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 17 February 2021, 9:00PM

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture has appealed to school principals to re-enforce the use of face masks as the Government raised the COVID-19 alert system to level 1. 

Students in early childhood education, primary school and college are now asked to wear face masks in school all the times, the M.E.S.C. announced in a public notice issued on Wednesday.

Washing hands and using hand sanitisers as well as the following of general hygiene is also encouraged, not only for students but teaching staff for their protection. 

Any changes to the current alert level and instructions to educational institutions will be advised in due course, says the Ministry.

Last week the country moved into alert level 1 after a patient who flew into Samoa on a repatriation flight tested positive to COVID-19. 

Level 1 which is marked with the ‘yellow’ color is triggered when there are one to six confirmed COVID-19 cases in managed isolation and is considered low risk.

The level 1 alert system was initially activated in December following two people, who flew in on one of the repatriation flights, tested positive to the coronavirus but were declared to be historical cases. 

The National Emergency Operations Centre confirmed that the 16-year-old boy who twice tested positive has been relocated to an isolation ward at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital with his mother. 

His mother has tested negative to COVID-19 and hasn’t showed any symptoms of virus together with her son.  

Ministry of Health Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said authorities are monitoring the patient’s symptoms and progress.

The authorities are also investigating how the boy managed to apparently contract the virus despite strict border controls, including that of all incoming passenger arrivals presenting a negative test for the virus within 72 hours of their departure. 

N.E.O.C. Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo said the boy’s COVID-19 test sample will be sent to New Zealand on the next cargo flight on Friday for genome sequencing to be undertaken, in order to figure out where he got infected as all his paperwork was in order before he travelled.

Leausa said there are two possibilities for how the boy may have contracted the virus: either travelling between Los Angeles and Auckland or while waiting in transit in Auckland. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 17 February 2021, 9:00PM
Samoa Observer

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