COVID-19 patient returns to home quarantine

Samoa’s first COVID-19 case, a 16-year-old male has left the Moto’otua hospital isolation unit to self-isolate at his family home, the National Emergency Operation Centre has confirmed. 

The 16-year-old who arrived with 160 other passengers on the 12 February repatriation flight via New Zealand had initially tested negative upon arrival at the Faleolo international airport. 

His follow-up tests consequently returned positive results, leading to his isolation at a special ward at Moto’otua. 

All other passengers including his mother presented negative results and were released on Friday last week when their 21 days mandatory quarantine period expired. 

The Director-General for the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said the 16-year-old minor will continue to be under the watchful eyes of the authority during his home quarantine.  

“The village mayor, neighbours and his mother have agreed to continue the teenager’s quarantine at home,” Leausa said during a press conference on Monday afternoon. 

“We have security guards stationed there and health officials will have regular checkups and follow-up tests until we are certain that it is safe, then we will consider other actions.”

The Director-General said that health and police officials are monitoring the 16-year-old, preventing anyone from entering the home quarantine site and the boy from from leaving. 

He confirmed the test results from New Zealand shows that the teenager has the common COVID-19 variant that is prevalent in North America and Britain. 

“His last test shows that the virus has become weak and the decision was made to release him to undergo home quarantine,” added Leausa. 

Meanwhile, a total of 261 passengers who arrived on Friday evening are currently being isolated across 32 quarantine sites. 

According to the Director-General all of the passengers have tested negative and will undergo two further tests prior to being released at the expiry of their quarantine period. 

Those in quarantine include returning sailors and Samoan citizens who were in India for medical operations with 154 other nationals who were in New Zealand. 

The Interim Chairman of N.E.O.C., Agafili Shem Leo reminded the public that alert Level 1 is still activated, encouraging the public to wear face masks. 

While the country is still waiting on the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines, he urges people to adhere to state of emergency Orders, restrictions and other healthcare measures. 

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