Samoa’s National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) together with the Ministry of Health (MOH) have been in the forefront of protecting Samoa from a community outbreak of the coronavirus for over two years since the global pandemic took the world by storm in late 2019. With 181 community cases of covid-19 now confirmed, NEOC Chairman Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo has called for the spirit of unity, and of working together across sectors, in order to combat the outbreak and minimise harm to Samoa and its people.
“It is not a time to point fingers or shift blame,” said the newly re-appointed CEO for the Prime Minister and Cabinet. “What we need is to work together to ensure Samoa is protected, and able to overcome this.”
Agafili called on Samoa’s unique structure of Village Councils and Women’s Committees to uphold their roles in protecting the social stability within communities. “To village representatives, chiefs and orators, as well as members of the clergy – we need your support,” said Agafili. “E faamoemoe atu i lo outou pito laau, e malu ai se taumafaiga.”
Contingency Plan in Place
In terms of preparedness, the Acting Director General of Health Tagaloa Dr Robert Thompsen stated Samoa is ready with a contingency plan, should the number of positive cases that require isolation spike. “In the event that our current capacity is exhausted, the Ministry will activate its contingency plan, and we have already identified halls and certain school buildings for a possible overflow,” said Tagaloa.
Oxygen tanks will also not be a problem for Samoa’s covid response, as was the case the measles two years ago. A new oxygen plant facility is expected be up and running in the coming week.
Dr Thompsen told the media that two specialist engineers from overseas are currently in isolation, expected to be out at the end of this week. “They will begin work on the new oxygen plant as soon as they are released,” said Dr Thompsen. “Our current capacity is between 20 to 30 tanks a day, however, this new plant will allow us to fill up to 100 or even more in a day,” he said. “Samoa will be wll prepared for the outbreak in terms of oxygen.”
Samoa’s vaccination programme was launched over a year ago on the 18th of April 2021 and the rollout has been successful thus far with almost 90% of the adult population fully vaccinated with the 2-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The program for children was being rolled out when the first community case was discovered on Thursday.
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