“Please Need More Info on this New Notice”

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The latest travel advisory announced by the Ministry of Health has raised questions from readers, inbound travellers and residents abroad who had confirmed bookings to arrive back home in the next 24-48 hours.

Most affected by the notice are travellers from the 33 countries just added to the “14-day self-quarantine at country of last port” which now includes Australia and USA. With the recent travel restriction announcement being made on Saturday evening, effective 8am Sunday morning, many travellers already paid and ready to arrive under previous rules, were left with questions.

The new advisory now requires all inbound travellers to present proof of being tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. Some jurisdictions such as California have placed restrictions on testing for coronavirus, limiting it to the elderley and those who are showing symptoms.

Others seem to have different interpretations of the orders and have sent in the following questions:

“If I test negative for COVID-19 will I still have to undergo a 14 day self-quarantine at last port and present another medical certificate?”

What if testing is unavailable in my country?”

“How much does COVID-19 testing cost and how long do we expect to wait for results? 

“If I’m traveling directly from Australia, is that deemed to be my “last port” so I don’t have to self-quarantine or travel via Fiji or New Zealand?”

“There is no difference with someone doing a test in the US and someone doing a test in Singapore, then travel to Samoa via Auckland or Fiji and not have to spend additional 14 days in Fiji or NZ?”

Does a traveller from Singapore or Taiwan not need to spend 14 days in transit in Fiji if the test is negative like the traveller from US or Australia?”

While many more readers commend the Samoa Health Ministry for the stance taken to protect Samoa’s borders,  the questions could reflect a misinterpretation of the health regulations and how they are to be applied.

Another reader has raised the question of whether blood donors are being tested for COVID-19, while others want to know what Samoa’s current testing protocols are.

Are blood donors being tested for COVID-19?

The debate about travellers from Australia has been raised on the Government page, with different interpretations being shared by readers.

Many Health Ministry websites have set up a centralised information page with Frequently Asked Questions links and Advice for Travellers.

The Samoa public and intended visitors into Samoa are advised to direct all questions to the Ministry of Health via Deputy Director General Dr Tagaloa Robert Thomsen.

For more information contact Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thomsen on Phone: (685) 66503 / 7676015 or Email: robertt@health.gov.ws or Dr Sarah Brown email: sarahb@health.gov.ws  


Sina Retzlaff