Monday’s TalofaPass travelers now undergoing 10-day quarantine — including the Gov
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On Monday evening, 260 travelers, including Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, arrived at approximately 9:15 PM marking the first official commercial flight to American Samoa since Hawaiian Air flights were suspended over a year and a half ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the governor currently in the required quarantine he has therefore has designated Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale to sign documents on his behalf.
Prior to leaving the territory, Lemanu appointed Talauega as acting governor until he returns to the territory. Samoa News understands that the governor was among the 200-plus passengers on the Sept. 13th Hawaiian Airlines flight that officially reopened commercial air service between Honolulu and Pago.
All passengers on this flight are now undergoing a 10-day quarantine at Tradewinds Hotel and Sadie’s by the Sea hotel.
Responding to Samoa News inquiries, the Governor’s Office confirmed yesterday afternoon that the Governor has returned to the territory and is “currently in quarantine”.
“While I am in quarantine, it will be impossible for me to meet safely with people and sign documents,” Lemanu said in the “Delegation of Authority to the Lieutenant Governor” memorandum dated yesterday to cabinet members and others.
“Therefore, while I am in quarantine” and in accordance with local statute, A.S.C.A. 4.0106, Lemanu said that Talauega “shall have the full authority to sign any documents in my place.”
The memo comes as some people in the community are questioning the legality of any ASG official documents signed by Talauega as acting governor or lieutenant governor, while the governor is already on island.
In a press release from the COVID Task Force, it noted the ASG Hawaii office reported that over 20 travelers dropped out in the last few days for various reasons. Travelers that arrived Monday evening are now undergoing 10 days of quarantine at the Tradewinds Hotels and Sadie’s by the Sea where multiple COVID-testing and medical assessments will be conducted prior to discharge.
Acting Governor Talauega Ale, Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Asuega, Attorney General, and key Task Force leaders of the departments of Homeland Security, Legal Affairs, Public Health, and Public Works were at EOC to monitor and ensure the safe arrival and transport of travelers to their respective quarantine sites.
The American Samoa Department of Health epidemiologist Dr Aifili Tufa provided global updates on the pandemic before presenting data on the community response to the $100 vaccination incentive.
A total of 3,617 doses were administered between August 30th - September 10th. Prior to the incentive on August 24th, 63.1% of the total population had at least 1 dose, 56.7% were fully vaccinated, and 14.8% had no shots. Since the incentive and as of September 10th, 67.8% of the total population had at least 1 dose, 58.8% were fully vaccinated, and 10.1% had no shots.
Less than two weeks since the kickoff of the incentive, turnout for first and second shots has increased by nearly 5 percentage points.
Data House Co-President Hong Phan briefly presented to the Task Force various dashboards generated as a result of the past few flights that capture data on travelers which will be helpful in the approvals, pinpointing areas of improvement, and other informed data-driven decisions.
For the September 13th flight, 374 prospective travelers applied and 260 were approved. ”Anything that involves the USER EXPERIENCE is our priority,” remarked President Hong Phan.
The Acting Governor thanked the Data House president for her presentation adding, “this is the system for the public and our government to better track travelers so that we can introduce them back into our community safely and quickly.”
REMINDER TO OUTBOUND TRAVELERS
Travelers scheduled to depart on the outgoing Hawaiian Airline flights are advised to ensure that they have registered with the Hawaii Safe Travels program in order to fulfill entry requirements.
Fully vaccinated travelers will not be required to provide proof of 72-hour COVID-19 tests prior to departure. However, unvaccinated and partial vaccinated travelers must provide proof of 72-hour COVID tests provided only at the Department of Health lab.
Hawaiian Airlines staff have offered to provide Hawaii Safe Travels registration assistance to outbound travelers and the airline should be contacted for further information.