Samoa declares coronavirus an “infectious disease”

The Coronavirus has officially been declared by law in Samoa as an “infectious disease.”

The declaration signed this week by the Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers-Ah Kau is pursuant to Section 2 of the Health Ordinance 1959.

The declaration also authorizes the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health to “monitor, protect and shield Samoa from this infectious disease.”

Attorney General Lemalu Herman Retzlaff said, “ The Declaration affirms the Government's already existing legal acknowledgement of this specific disease that is now being dealt with, and further confirms the invoking of the special powers of the CEO of the Ministry of Health, to deal specifically with the Coronavirus, by all the legal means it deems appropriate, for example travel restrictions and other matters, and any other measures it may seek to put into effect.”

"Measles was already a recognized disease under the Law, so we needed to confirm this new phenomena now."

As the outbreak of the mysterious new coronavirus rapidly spreads, the Chinese authorities said on Wednesday that the official count of known cases jumped again overnight, with the death toll now exceeding 130.

China said on Wednesday that 132 people had died from the virus which is believed to have originated in the central city of Wuhan and is spreading across the country. The previous count, on Tuesday, was 106.

The New York Times reports the number of confirmed cases increased to 5,974 on Wednesday, up from 4,515 on Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission.

Most of the confirmed cases have been in the central Chinese province of Hubei, where several cities, including Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, have been placed under what amounts to a lockdown