The Ministry of Health and the National Security Committee met with Cabinet Thursday to discuss strengthening border security and preparedness against the infectious virus.
“Cabinet is fully aware that another infectious disease outbreak will have catastrophic effects on the whole of Samoa and Cabinet is not sitting on the sidelines,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
“We remain committed to keeping the country safe from any infectious disease outbreak. And the initial response approved by Cabinet this afternoon covers a range of issues which prioritizes strengthening our Border Security and Preparedness.”
And the first step is approving the Travel Advisory from MoH with the full support from the National Security Committee.
“The Travel Advisory issued this evening (Thursday) is in effect immediately.
“It reaffirms the Cabinet’s resolve that there is no room for complacency when it comes to the security and wellbeing of the country,” the Prime Minister assured in his weekly live Radio Programme with Radio 2AP Thursday evening.
Cabinet approved a number of measures for Samoa to protect its border and be prepared for the worse.
Among those measures include restrictions for all Government Personnel from travelling to the Asia Region especially countries such as of Japan, Thailand, South Korea, United States of America, Australia and Europe.
Only essential trips are exempted from the restriction subject to Cabinet approval.
All None Essential Trips by the Public Service are suspended until further notice from Cabinet.
For Border Security purposes, no visitor will be allowed entry to Samoa unless they satisfy the mandate to undergo medical clearance at least three (3) days before travelling to Samoa to confirm that they are free of any infectious diseases.
All travellers from Coronavirus affected countries must spend at least 14 days in a country free of the virus and undergo medical clearance prior to travel to Samoa.
Cabinet has also degreed for the MoH to immediately start health screening for all passengers arriving in Samoa via the Faleolo International Airport and the Matautu Wharf.
Crew members on all incoming container vessels as well as long liners are not exempted from the health screens.
And to facilitate MoH, Cabinet has instructed the Airport and Ports Authority to make available the needed facilities for Health Officials to quarantine any suspected visitor with Coronavirus symptoms.
For all related information on the Government response to the Coronavirus Outbreak, the Press and Communication Division (under the umbrella of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, (MPMC) Cabinet has given the green light to take the lead.
“Cabinet has tasked the PCD to disseminate the Travel Advisory locally and internationally to signify the seriousness of the Outbreak and reiterate Cabinet’s zero tolerance to any uninvited infectious diseases threatening the country,” he reiterated.
“The Travel Advisory is the beginning,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
“Until Cabinet has been informed of any new developments, the Travel Advisory will remain in effect,” he concluded.
The Coronavirus originated from Wuhan Province in China and has so far claimed 18 lives.
There are over 650 cases reported globally.
There is no vaccine for the virus, which can spread through respiratory transmission. Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and cough, similar to many other respiratory illnesses.
Photo file Loop Samoa