Covid-19 tests for 19 Samoa frontline workers return negative

The 19 staff placed under controlled isolation in Samoa after three people on a container ship tested positive for Covid-19 in American Samoa remain in quarantine as a health precaution.

The frontline workers from the Ministry of Health and Samoa Ports Authority, including Stevedoring staff undertook Covid-19 tests on Sunday, five days after they were isolated.

Health Director Leausa Dr. Take Naseri and NEOC Chairman Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo confirmed the results returned negative during a press conference, on Monday.

“We understand the public’s concerns regarding the possible Covid-19 risk to Samoans following the Fesco Askold Covid scare on 8 November 2020, which 3 of the crew members were reported to have been tested positive on arrival in American Samoa,” elaborated the two senior government officials in a statement.

“Our assessments have revealed that all 19 personnel identified from the contact tracing when the incident came to light a week ago have not been exposed to Covid-19, which is evidence of strict compliance with control protocols at the wharf.”

“Contact tracing, monitoring and surveillance of persons connected to the officials continue.

“The travel advisory for American Samoa has been updated in due course as we continue to monitor the situation there,” the officials said.

As of yesterday (Tuesday), 2,976 Samoans have returned home since 22 March 2020 on 15 flights approved by Cabinet.

The latest flight last Friday brought home 274 more Samoans repatriated from New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United Stated including 27 Samoan sailors who have completed employment contracts while stationed on the Mediterranean Shipping Fleet in various parts of Europe.

A number of passengers booked on Friday afternoon’s flight were denied boarding due to non-compliance with health requirements.

“There are no exemptions when it comes to full compliance with the Travel Advisory to protect the country from COVID19,” Agafili said at the press conference.

“All the passengers are now undergoing the compulsory 14 Day Quarantine requirement and as of today, there are no incidents of anyone showing complications associated with Covid symptoms,” reassured Director General of Health Leausa adding that daily health checks are also compulsory during the quarantine period.

“Our strict Border Security mandate is the so far proving effecting in keeping the Covid-19 at bay,” added Agafili.

To ensure that Samoa remains Covid-19 free, all personnel involved in managing repatriation flights have undergone refresher trainings of all procedures and protocols.

Trainings have focused for example, on the processes and protocols that govern the transfer of passengers from the airport to the quarantine sites, daily quarantine activities, health checks for the passengers upon arrival and while in quarantine, compliance procedures for quarantine sites and security personnel assigned to the quarantine sites, infection, prevention and control activities including the proper wearing and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) by all personnel, and proper reporting processes.

Preceding the arrival of the flight last Friday, 274 passengers who arrived in Smaoa on 30 October 2020 were all discharged from quarantine sites in good health upon expiry of their two weeks isolation.

All were tested and the results came out negative.


Photo supplied