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Task Force cancels Apia flights in support of Samoa's lockdown

Covid-19 Task Force members

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — few hours after Samoa announced a nation-wide lock down, after 15 passengers on a flight this week from Australia tested COVID-19 positive, American Samoa Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga offered words of “solidarity” and announced that inter Samoa flights are cancelled for one-week.

Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa announced in a televised address to the nation via news conference, which was also streamed on her government’s Facebook Page, the 48-hour lock-down that began on 6p.m on Saturday, Jan. 22 in Samoa (Jan. 21, Friday, in American Samoa) until Monday, Jan. 24 (Sunday, Jan. 23, in American Samoa).

Fiame said the measures taken by the government “are not intended to cause panic but simply encourage caution, vigilance and enhance awareness of an evolving situation,” she said and called on the nation for their cooperation.” (See separate Samoa News online story from Apia.)

“We thank the Honorable Prime Minister for her statement... and assure her and the people of Samoa that they are all in our prayers as we face this pandemic together,” Lemanu said in a statement issued last Friday afternoon. “We will support Samoa with their response to these recent developments as much as we can.”

According to the statement, the American Samoa COVID-19 Task Force has taken these events from Apia into consideration and asks the people of American Samoa to remain calm, vigilant, and prayerful. And that the task force has decided to cancel flights between Pago Pago and Apia for one week, to support the Government of Samoa’s response efforts.

The task force, which is chaired by Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale, will make an official announcement on resumption of Apia flight schedules as soon as official communications with the government of Samoa confirm that both Samoas are able to safely resume inter-island flights.