APIA, SAMOA – 20 NOVEMBER 2020: Swap samples from Samoa’s first suspected COVID19 positive case are being sent to New Zealand for further tests and the results expected on the weekend cargo flight.
The swab samples are from a Samoan sailor, the first suspected COVID19 positive case in the country announced by the Prime Minister yesterday morning.
The Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said the sailor has been under strict isolation at the National Hospital since Wednesday evening and will be tested again this Saturday.
The sailor who worked in Italy, returned home on last Friday’s repatriation flight from New Zealand.
Leausa Dr. Take Naseri has reassured the country that all the precautionary and preventative protocols prescribed by the Government’s COVID-19 response plan were executed.
The sailor travelled through Europe and via Auckland to Samoa and documentation provided confirmed that he was tested negative along with a medical report which also confirmed that he had no COVID-19 symptoms before leaving Europe.
Leausa said that when the flight arrived from Auckland last Friday afternoon, all of the 274 Samoans including the sailor were tested at the Airport without incident.
The tests are an added precautionary procedure executed as some of the returning Samoans had been living in countries ranked as COVID-19 high risk such as the seamen returning home from Europe.
Five days while still in quarantine, the sailor was diagnosed and tested positive on Wednesday night. But a follow up test less than 8 hours later, came back negative.
“We have also made contacts with Italian officials for a background and profile check which includes his medical history while working in Italy,” Leausa explained.
Leausa said that they have reviewed the local swab test procedures in case they may have missed or overlooked any critical detail and added that that the tests followed procedure minimizing any potential errors.
He added that health front line workers monitoring the sailor and his roommate from their Quarantine Accommodations are also quarantine in the Hospital compound at a separate building to ensure their safety and remove any contacts with family and the public while awaiting the test results.
Cabinet has extended the SOE to 22 December and the scheduled repatriation flights remain.
Schools will continue as usual but parents, guardians and teachers are asked to follow strict precautionary measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.
The Prime Minister has called for the country to remain calm and will keep the public posted on new developments regarding this case.