Cabinet downgrades COVID-19 Alert to Level 1
The Cabinet has approved the downgrading of the nationwide response to COVID-19 to Alert Level 1 following a drop in community transmission cases reported by the Ministry of Health.
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa announced the downgrade on Monday evening to activate Level 1 (yellow) for the next four weeks effective midnight Tuesday 31 May to Tuesday 28 June 28.
She said in her special announcement that an initial forecast of the virus appears to have peaked in early May and there is now a downward trend of new infections.
Recent reports from the M.O.H. confirmed the gradual drop in new infection rates which confirmed 301 new community cases (from 22–24 May) and 228 new community cases the following days (from 24–26 May).
Fiame noted the vaccination rates continued to climb steadily and the ultimate target is to achieve herd immunity for Samoa to help everyone, especially young children who are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
For the age group 18 years and above, 93.1 per cent have completed two doses, similarly 89.7 per cent of the 12-17 age group have done two doses with 87.6 per cent for the 5-11 age group.
“Vaccination remains our best defence against severe symptoms of the virus,” the Prime Minister said. “I would again encourage all those who have not done or completed their vaccinations, including a booster to visit the nearest hospital to do so.”
Fiame noted international travels continue to operate as per requirements approved earlier this month, though the number of flights to Samoa from next month will gradually shift to daily flights, with the complete opening of Samoa's borders on 1 August.
“Flights between the two Samoa’s will start daily operations this month, conditional on the satisfaction of health requirements.
“The monitoring of home isolation for arrivals is the prelude to the full opening of our borders. We have faced challenges in the effective monitoring of health measures for home isolation as were the experience over the last two weeks.
“However the message from government is clear for all travelers into Samoa–compliance with health measures is surety of the safety of families and loved ones.”
After its deliberation, Cabinet amended the State of Emergency Orders under Alert Level 1. The changes will see all businesses returning to normal opening hours from Monday to Sunday.
The ban on children 5 years and under being in public places conditional on adherence to health requirement is also lifted.
Fiame said the resumption of daily flights from American Samoa to Apia will commence and there will be a continuation of PCR tests for all arriving passengers and the removal of home isolation conditions.
Fishing boat crews were also given the green light to offloading their catch and replenish their supplies at the Matautu wharf subject to satisfaction of health requirements.
“Our efforts towards achieving herd immunity for Samoa will continue to require everyone’s assistance and support,” Fiame said.
“Central to this is our responsibility to keep our families and loved ones safe. We have come a long way in this campaign, and have accomplished a lot.
“However, let us not lose focus of the major tasks ahead of us in terms of preventing new infections and cooperation to drive our recovery. We continue to pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones to COVID 19.”
Fiame also acknowledged the efforts of frontline workers to safeguard the nation’s borders and the drive through M.O.H. with close collaboration with the Disaster Advisory Committee, development partners and all districts and villages across Samoa.
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