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Samoa rethinking repatriation flights after positive COVID cases

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa
Source: RNZ Pacific

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa says the government may cancel scheduled repatriation flights from Australia after the arrivial of 10 positive cases amongst 73 passengers from Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon.

She said a scheduled repatriation flight from New Zealand on Saturday has already been postponed.

Fiame also confirmed nine passengers who had "close contacts" with the affected passengers are now in managed isolation at the medical facility near the Faleolo International Airport.

The Prime Minister urged her fellow parliamentarians to take the lead in preventive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Fiame said they can start by wearing face masks when in public places, washing hands and keeping a safe distance.

The chairman of the National Emergency Operations Center, Agafili Shem Leo, says frontline workers at the special isolation facilities at the main hospital have started "camping" for the duration of the 21 day isolation period.


Samoa's Director General of Health Dr Take Naseri confirmed the cases, which include an 11 month old baby, during a press conference this afternoon in Apia.

The passengers were on a flight from Brisbane carrying 73 people.

All are fully vaccinated and had tested negative for Covid-19 before departure.

Dr Take Naseri said all of the passengers who tested positive since arriving in Samoa have been put into isolation and all are asymptomatic.

Take Naseri said test samples will be sent to New Zealand on the first available flight to determine which variant of Covid-19 they are dealing with.

But he said given the situation in Australia they suspect it is the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, Agafili has urged those who have tested positive not to panic and to heed all conditions of their isolation.

Agafili said they are hoping there has been no community transmission but they are prepared to quickly move up alert levels if need be.