American Samoa

Coronavirus: 3 more in quarantine in American Samoa

The woman travelled via New Zealand, one of the men travelled from Kuwait, and the other man had served as a missionary in France.

Under Department of Health policies, they were expected to spend 14 days in quarantine in Honolulu and obtain a health clearance three days before flying to American Samoa.

Hawaiian Air is supposed to enforce the regulations but the three travellers were allowed to board.

That brings the number of people currently in quarantine at the Leone Health Center to four.

A man arriving from South Korea was taken in last week.

American Samoa won't host Polynesian Leaders Group

American Samoa was to host the inter-governmental meeting involving eight Polynesian members in April.

Originally the territory was to host the event in July 2019 but Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga asked Tuvalu, which hosted the Pacific Forum meeting, to host the PLG alongside the forum.

Lolo had said the territory would step up and host the meeting in January 2020 instead.

However, because of the Samoan measles epidemic, the governor then postponed the meeting until April.

American Samoa backs Samoa Airways on US flights plan

Lolo Moliga has reportedly sent a letter to US President Donald Trump requesting a one year waiver from the cabotage rule to allow Samoa Airways to take passengers from American Samoa to Hawaii and the US mainland.

The cabotage rule currently prohibits a foreign airline from operating direct flights between two US points.

Last year, airline chief executive Tupuivao Alvin Tuala and board member Tuia Paepae Letoa discussed their plans for the US route with American Samoan officials.

Another measles case confirmed in American Samoa

The government said the latest case was a 28-year-old man from Fagaitua village, who has not left American Samoa in the past three months.

A woman, 27, is also thought to have measles, with samples sent to Hawaii for testing.

The territory is under an emergency declaration, with travel restrictions imposed on the territory's border, public gatherings restricted, and a mass vaccination campaign underway.

Earlier this week, the US announced it would provide $US490,000 of funding to help support the territory's efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

2020 Polynesian Leaders meeting postponed

The group, which was established in 2011, consists of independent or self-governing countries or territories within the geographical region of Polynesia.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga said because of measles outbreaks in the Pacific, it was prudent to postpone the meeting that was to be held 28-29 January.

In a letter, Lolo said there was "great sensitivity" around the health crisis that might continue into 2020.

The summit is now scheduled for 14-16 April.

American Samoa stops Samoan fishing vessel at border

Under American Samoa's emergency declaration due to the measles epidemic, all vessels entering the territory must obtain prior approval.

Authorities say the alia fishing boat was boarded last Friday and the occupants detained for violating local immigration law.

Homeland Security Director Samana Semo Ve'ave'a said it was important that those entering the territory did so through proper governmental channels.

He said those actions were taken to stop the spread of measles, as well as to prevent human trafficking, drug smuggling and other illegal activities.

 

American Samoa lifts public gathering ban

 

He said he was briefed by health officials and based on that, he had made changes to the public health emergency declaration.

The ban on entry permits has also been lifted but are still subject to restrictions.

The proclamation of amended restriction during the continued public health emergency includes the following:

The restriction on public gatherings is hereby lifted

All entry permits from the Independent State of Samoa will require a 15 day review period while those from other countries will be under review for 30 days

American Samoa tests for local measles transmission

Department of Health Epidemiologist Dr. Aifili John Tufa said they are still investigating how the child contracted the measles virus.

The territory has received a shipment of 8,000 vaccines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is launching a mass vaccination program in villages tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the vaccination of employees of the StarKist Samoa cannery which has a workforce of 2,000.

This past week only one measles suspected case was seen at the LBJ Hospital and a blood sample is being sent to Hawaii for testing.

American Samoa confirms nine measles cases

Of the nine, five are people who are travellers to the territory.

Epidemiologist Dr Aifili John Tufa announced the outbreak during a live broadcast fundraiser to help neighbouring Samoa's fight against the disease.

Dr Tufa later told KHJ News they believe there are other cases that have not presented at the hospital.

Samoans must show measles vaccination evidence to enter American Samoa

In the wake of the measles outbreak, ASG had imposed the new requirement for Samoan citizens to provide proof of measles immunisation as a condition of entry into the territory.

Immunization records or any other documents will not be accepted by the American Samoa Government.

Travellers to the territory are advised to present a valid passport to the EPI Division at the Moto’otua National Hospital to process the Letter of Confirmation to enter the territory.

The service fee is $10 tala