Samoa confirms 10 positive COVID-19 cases

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 20 January 2022, 4:28PM

Ten passengers returning on a flight to Samoa have tested positive for COVID-19, the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) has advised.

Four of the passengers are male with six female, the N.E.O.C. advised local media in a press conference on Thursday.

The infected passengers were among 73 passengers who arrived in Samoa on a Qantas charter flight from Brisbane, Australia. The charter flight touched down at the Faleolo International Airport on Wednesday afternoon. 

Of the 10 positive cases, the youngest is 11 months old with the oldest 63 years of age.

The N.E.O.C. Chair Agafili Shem Leo and the Director-General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri appeared before the media to advise of the positive cases. 

Leausa confirmed that all 10 passengers have been placed in an isolation unit at the National Hospital at Moto'otua and will be closely monitored. 

He also confirmed that nine people are now under close supervision as they have had close contact with the 10 passengers who tested positive and will be put in isolation. 

The first flight out to New Zealand will take their samples for further tests in order to get more clarity.

The Government health chief also assured the nation that all confirmed cases are asymptomatic and are fully vaccinated.  

Samoa remains on alert Level 1 according to the N.E.O.C. Chair Agafili.

The N.E.O.C. also confirmed that the incoming flight from New Zealand which was scheduled to arrive on Saturday has been cancelled until further notice. 

Cabinet is yet to announce changes to other flights expected to arrive in the country in the coming weeks. 

This is the third time Samoa has recorded cases of people returning to the country returning positive tests for the virus, though this is the first time 10 travelers have returned positive test results.

Last month, Samoa recorded it's second positive case of COVID-19 when a 24-year-old who flew in on a flight from Fiji in December tested positive. The 24-year-old who was isolated and closely monitored was fully vaccinated and did not show any symptoms. 

He was discharged a few weeks ago. 

In February last year, a young man on a repatriation flight from California in the U.S. and transiting via Auckland tested positive for the virus, resulting in the first instance of the virus reaching Samoa's shores.

The 16-year-old boy, who traveled to Samoa with his mother made a full recovery in extended hospital and home quarantine. 

A number of other "false positive" or "historic" cases of the virus have also been registered in tests for the virus. 

All repatriation passengers get tested at the airport upon arrival as a matter of standard procedure. 

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 20 January 2022, 4:28PM
Samoa Observer

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