Second man in Samoa tests positive
Apia, SAMOA — A 70-year-old man is Samoa’s second suspected case of COVID-19, the Director-General of Health in Samoa, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri confirmed at a press conference on Friday in Samoa.
Naseri said the man was now in isolation at Motootua hospital — as was his wife, who had tested negative.
The man had underlying health conditions, for which he took regular medication, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Naseri said the man, who was on the same repatriation flight as the country’s first suspected case, was not showing any visible symptoms of the virus.
Revelations of a new case comes after a Samoa sailor tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
Although another test on the sailor came back negative, Samoa is still treating him as a positive case.
This second man tested negative upon arrival however, in a follow up test, he was confirmed as positive.
Asked whether there was a possibility the man may have caught COVID-19 from the first positive case, Naseri acknowledged that did not seem likely.
"They were 10 rows apart," he said.
The sailor was seated in row 59, Naseri said, while the older man was in row 49.
"We don't know if [he picked it up] from Melbourne or New Zealand," Naseri said.
"This case - it's not easy as he has [other health conditions]."
The sailor and his roommate remain in isolation at the same hospital, while the sailor’s swabs and blood are to be re-sent to New Zealand on Friday (Samoa Time) as the first test sent to NZ returned with the same results as those tested in Samoa. The Samoa prime minister said they just wanted to be ‘safe’.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi later said that the sailor who tested positive last Friday had been infected before while in Italy and the man who most recently tested positive had contracted the virus in Melbourne, Australia.
‘’The problem is these two failed to let authorities know about their past infections,’’ he said.
Tuilaepa said that this has prompted the National Emergency Operations Center to advise that all intending returning residents must be checked for past histories.
The National Emergency Operations Center placed Samoa at Code Yellow, which means it has 1-6 confirmed cases.
NEW MANDATES FOR REPATRIAION FLIGHTS
The Samoa Cabinet has approved new compulsory regulations for residents returning from overseas on repatriation flights.
Effective immediately, it is compulsory for all returning resident to sign a declaration to verify if he or she had contracted the COVID19 or not before they are allowed into the country.
Compulsory medical tests and health requirements prescribed by the Travel Advisory are also re-enforced.
Also the Cabinet approved changes to conditions for passengers to be allowed for the two flights from New Zealand in early December per recent Cabinet Directive. The flights will be restricted only to returning Samoan residents from New Zealand. Also Samoan students from Australia who have completed their studies and will be transiting through Auckland on their way home are included.
The transit privilege is for the Samoan students from Australia only and does not include Samoans living outside of New Zealand planning to transit home through Auckland.
The two flights are scheduled for the 4th and 7th of December.
Repatriation flights for Samoans in Fiji including scholarship students, missionary workers, etc. are being organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade taking the lead as the implementing agency.
(Sources: Samoa Press Secretariate, RNZ Pacific & NZ Herald)