Three crew members of a container ship that arrived into the Pago port at noon yesterday have tested positive for COVID-19.
This was confirmed at a press conference late last night by American Samoa Director of Health (DOH) Epidemiologist Dr Aifili John Tufa, who announced that three of 17 crew members of the vessel were confirmed to have the coronavirus.
Dr Aifili explains these are positive COVID-19 cases, not false positives as had been the case of a near scare last week on the purse seine “Rosita C.”
American Samoa’s Talanei reports that noone from the Fesco Askold which regularly frequents Pago, had gone on shore.
The Fesco Askold left California around October 25th. It was in Tahiti Nov 4th for one day and was in Apia on the 8th of November before docking in American Samoa yesterday, 9th November (8th in Pago).
American Samoa’s Department of Health protocols requires Covid-19 testing of the crew of the vessel before anyone disembarks, or any cargo could be unloaded.
Talanei reports that 7 DOH personnel went on board to administer the COVID-19 tests.
“Two lab workers, and two Port Administration pilots who guided the Fesco Askold into port have been taken into quarantine”.
Contacted for a comment Samoas Director General of Health says the Port Health protective protocol for cargo vessels is a stringent process and no contact is made with any crew members.
“I am confident with our process, but for extra precaution, those involved have been quarantined and will be tested.”
Leausa says the risk for Samoa is mitigated by this stringent process where nobody gets off the ship, and the few officials involved are in full PPE – Personal Protection Equipment.
“The crew on board are even required to quarantine in an area of the ship and there is only one crew member who stands on board the vessel from a distance to oversee the offload process”.
“The containers are all offloaded by crane onto a secluded area of the wharf, fenced off with only 2 or 3 stevedoring crew to operate the cranes..”