American Samoa in Code Red as Health Officials Confirm Community Cases

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Wednesday 23 February 2022 Apia Samoa. American Samoa went into CODE RED at midnight last night as the Territory deals with its first community tranmissions of Covid-19.

No details as to the extent of community transmissions or locations of interest have been shared by Health officials, however, a health department MIQ worker from the 27 January Honolulu flight is believed to have contracted the virus and 7 out of 8 of their family members have tested positive.

The Territory’s Talanei News reports the Department of Health (DOH) has said some of the family members attended a Sunday church service in Leone but the identity of the church has not been disclosed.

In a press conference aired on KVZK TV last night, Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga called for unity, and urged churches and villages across American Samoa, to work together with Government, to ensure a single life is not lost to the pandemic.

“E manaonia le tatou galulue faatasi. Le paia o le atunuu i Ekalesia. Paia o le atunuu i afioaga ma nuu. Ae maise foi le faigamalo. Ia tatou galulue faatasi ina ia aua lava, aua lava, nei afaina se soifua, i lenei faamai.”

Lemanu said American Samoa will shut down for one week including schools, all of government and private sector with the exception of essential services. The situation would be reassessed to decide next steps to take after the initial week long lockdown.

Thirty-five passengers from the 27 January Honolulu flight tested positive to Covid upon arrival. This followed an announcement that eight quarantine staff from the health department who worked at quarantine sites, also tested positive.

The 35 passengers is the highest number of imported cases on record for a single flight, and the first time quarantine staff had tested positive.

American Samoa Travel Report prior to the Community Cases being discovered.

Prior to this flight, American Samoa had recorded 18 positive cases – all from Hawaiian Airlines flights that resumed commercial services between Honolulu and Pago Pago in September last year.

In neighboring Samoa, protocols regarding frontline workers were lifted after 25 passengers from a Brisbane Qantas flight and six healthcare workers tested positive last month. Samoa’s revised protocols has all frontliners who work a flight, quarantined and tested for a period of time before they are released to their families.

Some Code Red Restrictions listed for American Samoa:

  • Essential service businesses will be allowed to operate from 5am to 4pm.
  • All passenger air and sea travel will be suspended.
  • Ports of entry will be closed except for Military and approved air or sea cargo vessels.
  • All public gatherings will be completely shut down.
  • All ASG operations will be suspended except for first responders and essential employees.