Samoa Boarders

Samoa sets vaccination target for re-opening border

Health boss Leausa Take Naseri says borders will re-open only when 98 percent of the eligible population has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Currently 7 percent have received their first shot of the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine.

Leausa says despite rigorous border testing, vaccines are the last line of defense against the virus getting a foot-hold in the country.

Samoa has secured enough vaccines for 40,000 people this year, a considerable shortfall on herd immunity target of 120,000 people.

Samoan govt says stranded sailors have to stay put

This is despite a call by the International Transport Federation for the government to find ways to repatriate the sailors.

The ITF's Scott McDine urged the government to act through an email to the Samoa Observer newspaper.

"As we have said, Governments cannot continue with a mentality of out of sight, out of mind, and must use all their influence to end this humanitarian crisis," Scott McDine said.

"All Governments must ramp up action before we see more serious consequences."

Reservations about reopening borders - Samoa PM

Samoa was one of the first to lock down because of Covid-19, fearing a repeat of last year's measles epidemic which killed 83 people.

The country's tourism industry has been hard hit by the shut down, and there has been talk about joining a so-called travel bubble if New Zealand eliminates Covid-19.

But in a video recorded by his office, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he's reluctant to rush into reopening.

"There's a proverbial saying, once bitten twice shy. We have been hit hard by the measles, and we did not want to be hit again a second time."