American Samoa’s borders set to re-open

American Samoa plans to re-open its borders after July following the last of its repatriation flights scheduled for 31 July, 2021 arrives in the territory.

The re-opening of borders in the neighbouring Samoan islands was announced in a press statement from the American Samoa Department of Health disseminated early this week, reports KHJ/Talanei News in Pago Pago. 

The COVID-19 Task Force plans to have six more flights to bring home stranded residents before ending the repatriation program after July.

There will be two flights each for the months of May, June and July. The dates for the remaining flights are: 12 and 28 May, 13 and 29 June and 15 and 31 July. 

The Task Force says more than 270 travelers planning to make the upcoming flight on 12 May are now being quarantined at the Ohana East Hotel. 

Their first COVID test was conducted on 3 May and the results will determine the number of travelers who will continue on with the quarantine period. 

KHJ News has asked for the test results as they were not included in the press release.

Those with positive results are referred to the Hawaii Department of Health for isolation and other requirements.

Director of Health Motusa Tuileama Nua, who is now overseeing operations for the repatriation program in Hawai’i, reports that 105 of the travelers have been vaccinated.  

With more travelers expected on this flight, the Task Force is looking at two quarantine locations, the Tradewinds Hotel and the Alternate Care Facility (ACF) at the D.O.H. 

The government will be upgrading two additional sites – one at the airport and at Fatuoaiga, said Task Force Chairman Lieutenant Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale.

These will serve as backup sites. 

They can also be used to quarantine passengers from flights from Samoa and other areas.  

Talauega also revealed at a Task Force meeting that the medical clearance form will no longer be required before entering quarantine in Honolulu. 

All that’s needed is a negative COVID-19 test result taken 72 hours before the traveler enters quarantine in Hawaii.

Meanwhile the non-infectious male passenger who travelled on the 3rd repatriation flight last month has been released after 14 days of quarantine and monitoring by D.O.H.  

DOH epidemiologist Dr. Aifili John Tufa said the medical community decided to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) guidelines, which do not recommend retesting of patients within three months of their first bout of COVID as long as they do not develop new symptoms.  

Dr. Aifili said the male traveler and his family members are all asymptomatic and they were released on Friday.

The Samoa Observer was unable to obtain a comment from D.O.H.

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