“Samoa is still Covid-19 Free” – Director General of Health

Health CEO A2
The Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

 

“There is no confirmed case of Covid-19 in the country. There is no evidence to suspect any Covid-19 case,” reassures the Director General of Health.

 

APIA, SAMOA – 19 AUGUST 2020: Leausa gave the assurance in a press conference at the back of concerned reports on social media in the weekend about the death of a young man who was released from quarantine on 31 July 2020.

The deceased was one of the seasonal workers who returned on the repatriation flight from New Zealand on 17 July 2020 and was part of the group who were quarantined at Poutasi, Falealili.

“There is no history of any illness or symptoms to suspect he was infected. He was a young and strong young man,” said Leausa.

He also confirmed that the deceased had records of being tested negative and reports from a doctor in New Zealand that he was free of any symptoms relating to any illness.

Before all quarantined personnel at Poutasi were released on 31 July 2020, they all underwent another test and only when cleared that they were allowed to return home.

The Ministry of Health reacted quickly when informed of the passing of the young man, and a test was conducted on him 24 hours after his death.

“We have that report and no evidence suggests its Covid-19,” Leausa explained.

Awaiting post mortem

With New Zealand on Stage 3 alert and lockdown, it is hard to get a pathologist to conduct a post mortem on the deceased.

“But we are working in securing one from either New Zealand or Australia to do this,” he said.

Government plans for the worst

Samoa was the first country in the world to take precaution in responding to COVID-19 by closing its borders in March.

Leausa said if a case pops up, the plan is to isolate that person wherever he/she resides to avoid bringing them to a public place.

He said the Ministry stands ready and has secured things like oxygen supply and what may be required to cater for any patients.

“Even the morgue and mass grave at Tafa’igata cemetery are all set,” he said.

All these plans by Government are preparations for any case of Covid-19, but the expectation is for Samoa remains free of the virus.

According to Leausa, top on the list for the health recommendation to Cabinet tomorrow, is for Samoa’s borders to remain closed.

300 in quarantine

Currently there are 300 people under quarantine; 278 from New Zealand and 22 from Fiji who are quarantined separately.

The next repatriation flight is scheduled for 28 August 2020.

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