Older Brother of Samoa’s First Covid-Related Death Alleges they were Sent Home and Told Not to Worry


11pm Thursday 31 March 2022, Apia Samoa. The Ministry of Health has confirmed Samoa’s first COVID-19 related death on Wednesday 30th March 2022, 13 days after the first community case was detected on the 17th of March 2022.   

According to the Ministry’s statement, “The deceased, a 67-year-old male, had multiple comorbidities. He died shortly after he was admitted to the Lalomanu District Hospital yesterday,” reads the official statement.

“Out of respect for the family we will not be making any further comment,” concludes the MOH statement. 

However, speaking to Samoa Global News, the older brother of the deceased said his younger sibling was sent home twice before he passed away at Lalomanu District Hospital.

According to 71-year-old Noa Autasia, his brother who was 69, was originally taken to Lufilufi District Hospital, where he tested positive for covid-19, and then sent home to self-isolate.

Noa said his brother’s condition did not improve, so they took him back to Lufilufi District Hospital, where he was again returned home, and told not to worry.

“He was suffering (tigaina) so we took him back to the hospital, but the doctor said it was just asthma, and not to worry, because the covid had passed”.

“Sa tigaina o ia ona toe ave ai lea i le falemai, ae fai mai le fomai, o le sela, ae aua le popole, ua uma le faamai”.

According to Noa, his brother’s condition did not improve, so they took him to Lalomanu District Hospital. At Lalomanu, said Noa, they were told his brother was covid-positive. Noa said this confused him, because Lufilufi District Hospital had told them the covid had passed.

“Ua ou leiloa lā poo leā le sa’o, o lea e fai mai Lufilufi e leai se faamai, ae o lea e aumai ii, ae fai mai o lea e pesia lo’u uso i le faamai.”

As confirmed by the MOH statement, Samoa’s first covid-related death, passed away shortly after being admitted to Lalomanu on Wednesday. The Ministry’s statement adding the deceased had “multiple comorbidities” or multiple chronic conditions.

According to Noa Autasia, his brother looked to have had asthma (o le sela lava na tigaina ai). He said his brother’s body was taken to Motootua National Hospital, where it was confirmed he was covid-positive.

He said both he and his brother have large families, and they are now concerned that as close contacts, the whole family are now covid-positive.

“We are a very big family, my brother and I both have a lot of kids. This means that we should all now be tested.”

“E toatele le matou aiga, e toatele le fanau a si o’u uso faapena foi ma a’u. O lona uiga la ua tatau ona siaki uma matou”.

Messages have been left with former Acting Director General of Health, Tagaloa Robert Thompsen, for a comment. Due to a rotational basis, Acting Director General for Health  gas moved from Tagaloa to Dr Glenn Fatupaito.

Last Sunday an elderly man from Siumu, Mano Tupuola Sekono Fetoai was treated outside the security hut of Poutasi District Hospital, after being told he could not enter because he had tested positive for covid-19. According to a nurse at Poutasi hospital, it is protocol that covid-19 positive patients cannot enter the hospital premises.

Latest report shows 126 covid-19 cases are aged 60 years and above.

Since the global pandemic outbreak, it has been widely reported that the elderly face the highest risk for deaths from covid-19.

According to a WHO report, “Although all age groups are at risk of contracting COVID-19, older people face significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions”.

Samoa’s latest report shows that 126 community cases are aged 60 years and above.

Repeated updates issued by the Ministry of Health have stated that no covid patients have needed to be admitted to the Motootua National Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) since the community outbreak. Latest reports stated seven cases were in a special isolation ward at Motootua National Hospital.

As of 2pm Wednesday, there were 1,353 active cases in Samoa with 1,665 total community cases detected so far.