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Two men in quarantine in Samoa over virus fears

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Sources: RNZ Pacific and Samoa Ministry of Health

Apia, SAMOA — The Samoa Ministry of Health has confirmed that two Samoan sailors are in quarantine for 14 days at the Faleolo District Hospital amid fears they might be carrying China's coronavirus.

According to the Samoa Observer, the two have been at the hospital, which has been converted into a quarantine facility, since Sunday when they arrived on a flight from Nadi, Fiji.

They had travelled with six Chinese passengers who were refused entry to Samoa and flown back to Fiji where they are being quarantined despite showing no signs of any illness.

When making their way back to Samoa, the two Samoans had reportedly stopped in China for two days, which prompted the ministry to quarantine them as a precaution.

All travellers originating or transitting through China must spend at least 14 days in quarantine at a country of last port that is free of the virus.

Meanwhile, the Fiji government says all passengers travelling from Hong Kong and Singapore are being met by health officers to determine if they recently visited China's Hubei Province.

French Polynesian authorities consider the risk posed by the virus as low but say a process is in place should the situation change.

In Wallis and Futuna, a heat seeking camera has been installed at the airport to screen all arriving passengers.


The Director General of Health, Leausa T. Dr. Take Naseri is advising the public that starting Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, the Faleolo Hospital will be “operated as a Health Quarantine Site for Infectious Diseases,” while they continue to monitor the global spread of the coronavirus in the world.

“The public is advised to go to Leulumoega District Hospital for usual health services,” Dr. Naseri’s says. He notes that this is a temporary arrangement until further notice. For more info, the public can contact Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen at 66503 or 7676015 or email: ws.


Fiji authorities are holding six Chinese travelers in quarantine as a precaution after they failed to gain entry to Samoa. Samoa's government has confirmed the six were refused entry for not meeting strict quarantine requirements implemented on Friday.

A government spokesperson told RNZ Pacific they arrived from Nadi last night, but were turned back because they didn't have the appropriate medical clearance.
The restrictions, imposed after an emergency Cabinet meeting, compel anyone who's been in China to "self-quarantine" in a country free from the coronavirus for 14 days. All travelers entering Samoa from any country are also required to undergo a medical examination at least three days before leaving for Samoa.

They said Samoa was taking no chances after being ravaged by a measles epidemic which killed 83 people, mostly children, at the end of last year. The measles was most likely exported to Samoa from New Zealand.

Fiji's information ministry said on return to Nadi, all six were examined by a doctor and assessed as well, with no fever. They are in quarantine to be cleared to fly. The ministry said all six were from Fujian province in China, and none had a history of travel to Wuhan or Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak started.

The virus is thought to have originated in animals and has killed 56 people since it broke out in Wuhan, Hubei. Cases have been confirmed in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, the US, and France. Meanwhile, Northern Marianas health authorities have quashed rumors that the coronavirus has reached the islands over the weekend.

Five patients were treated at the Commonwealth Health Center on Friday exhibiting symptoms reminiscent of the new virus. They had recently travelled to an affected area. However, their illnesses have been confirmed to be the flu.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation said its preparedness staff at Saipan International Airport were working with Customs and Quarantine to screen incoming passengers. The Marianas Visitors Authority said it still encouraged tourists from China to visit the CNMI despite the recent outbreak.