Latest positive cases due to close contact, says N.E.O.C.

By Adel Fruean 22 January 2022, 7:10PM

The National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) has clarified Samoa has no community transmission and the latest positive cases are  from close contacts with the infected passengers.

The announcement was made during a joint press conference on Saturday chaired by the N.E.O.C. Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo and the Director-General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

The press conference followed a special address to the nation by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa at around 11am on Saturday declaring Samoa will go into a 48-hour lockdown commencing at 6pm Saturday.

Samoa has moved to Alert Level 3 following the confirmation of 15 positive COVID-19 cases after 10 people who flew into Samoa on a charter flight from Australia on Wednesday tested positive. 

Leausa provided an update to the media during the Saturday afternoon press conference, saying Samoa has 15 confirmed cases from the 73 passengers who flew in on the charter flight. 

Out of the 10 who initially tested positive, he said three were children including a 11-month old baby, and the eleventh case was the mother of the child who tested positive later.

Leausa said the following day all the passengers were tested, including those who were suspected of getting infected which led to the discovery of four new positive cases.

“All the positive cases are in managed isolation,” he said. “We identified eight people were close contacts [to infected passengers] and from this number a total of four new positive cases that brings our total number to 15 cases.

“And so far, no one has showed any symptoms of the virus; no one has a fever or coughing.”

The Director General said they assembled all their 263 frontliners from airport staff, ground handling staff, immigration staff, quarantine, custom staff, police officers and health officials who were at the airport for testing.

“All of them have been tested and no one has tested positive to the virus and the nature of this virus is that once exposed to it, the symptoms will show later," Leausa said.

“We have isolated everyone for 21 days and no one will go home.”

Leausa added that Monday is another day for the tests, who then revealed that Samoa's recent positive case was only released, after he tested negative three times. 

“Our previous positive case was only released after testing negative three times," he said. “With our 15 cases, this has led to us looking into changing our alert levels for the protection of our country. 

“We are worried we might have a community transmission and that will spread rapidly. The 15 positive cases do not have any symptoms; even the 11-month baby does not have any symptoms and is doing well.”   

Agafili said Samoa will now be in Level 3 which denotes high risk and shops together will restaurants will all close. 

“Everyone please stay home, no cars are permitted on the road except authorised vehicles," he said. “Mandatory face masks will be enforced during the lockdown in public areas.

“Police will enforce through various check points and the provision of vaccination cards of two doses by travelling public mandatory and those who will be caught breaching these orders will be penalised.

“All our efforts is all for the protection of our country.”


By Adel Fruean 22 January 2022, 7:10PM
Samoa Observer

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