Government confirms 5 new cases; lockdown extended

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 25 January 2022, 12:03AM

The Samoa Government has reported 5 new positive COVID-19 cases to increase the country’s total tally to 20 cases in a span of five days, resulting in the extension of a nationwide lockdown.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa announced the new cases in an address to the nation at around 6pm Monday local time and said a 48-hour lockdown that expired 6pm Monday will now be extended for another 72 hours.

She said the extended lockdown will end at 6pm on Thursday, giving local health three days to monitor and assess the positive cases, and to conduct tests on others including close contacts.

The 20 cases marks the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in Samoa since the global pandemic first emerged in early 2020.

Fiame revealed that the 5 new cases are front-line workers who were monitoring the 15 positive cases who flew into Samoa last Wednesday on a charter flight from Brisbane, Australia.

"As [it] was announced on Saturday last week, the declaration of the nationwide lockdown from 6pm to 6pm this afternoon upon discovery of the 15 positive cases," Fiame said. "However, this afternoon the Cabinet was advised that five new cases have been identified in quarantine, taking the number of quarantine cases to 20. 

"These five cases are front-line workers who are monitoring the 15 individuals who have been tested positive since Saturday last week. 

"All 20 cases are asymptomatic and all are placed in special isolation units at Moto'otua."

Fiame added that there is still no evidence of a case emanating from community transmission in Samoa. 

In an attempt to keep the virus from spreading across the country, the Cabinet has approved the advice of the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) to extend the period for the nationwide lockdown. 

And to enable the public to replenish their supplies at home, the Government has given approval for shops, money transfer services, gas stations, cash power outlets, pharmacies, as well as markets to be opened on Tuesday and Thursday from 8am to 2pm.

But there will be conditions enforced during these hours, according to Fiame. 

"It will be mandatory to wear face masks, social distance, showing vaccination cards and children under 12 will be banned from public places,” she said.

Fiame also confirmed that 280 frontline workers are now being isolated, having been tested with their results expected on Tuesday.

Moreover, she assured the nation that the Cabinet will not hesitate to make any changes, should suspicions of a community transmission emerge. 

Samples from the 15 positive cases have been sent to New Zealand to confirm which variant they have been infected by.

Ferry services will only be open for cargo and fuel supplies for Savai’i on Wednesday, but no passengers will be allowed.

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Health
By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 25 January 2022, 12:03AM
Samoa Observer

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