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Coronavirus: 6 held in quarantine in Samoa

Staff members take passengers' body temperature at Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — Six people are being held in quarantine in Samoa, and 18 have been refused entry, since the government last week introduced border restrictions to stave off the Wuhan coronavirus.

The health ministry said the latest to be quarantined at the Faleolo Health Clinc were a Samoan woman and her Kenyan husband, who had been in China for business.

The ministry said the couple did not follow the 'self-quarantine' rules imposed by the government last week for anyone who had been in China, where the outbreak has killed more than 350 people.

All travellers from mainland China must spend at least 14 days in self-quarantine in a country without the coronavirus before entering Samoa.

Anyone isolated must then undergo medical clearance three days prior to entering Samoa.

Samoa and Fiji are part of the growing list of countries restricting access following the virus outbreak.

Most recently, the Federated States of Micronesia has banned its citizens from travelling to mainland China because of fears over the virus.

In an emergency declaration signed today, President David Panuelo said the ban would remain in force until it was clear the virus was effectively contained.

He also urged the country's 105,000 people to avoid travelling to other countries with confirmed cases.

People who have visited China since 6 January are already banned from entering the Federated States of Micronesia by air or sea.

Meanwhile, Pacific Islanders and Australians in the novel coronavirus-stricken Wuhan are expected to be on board a chartered flight on Wednesday arranged by New Zealand.

Air New Zealand's chief pilot David Morgan said the total of 250 passengers on board would be a mix of New Zealanders, Australians and Pacific Islanders. He didn't have a breakdown on the exact numbers.

Passengers will be charged a nominal flat fee of about $US300 and must pass a health check first.

Seventeen countries have now run special flights to evacuate foreign nationals from Wuhan.

The WHO's latest 'situation report' is available here.