Endorsing the recommendations from the Ministry of Health and the National Security Committee, Cabinet at a Special Meeting today approved initial measures to ensure that the Coronavirus does not infiltrate Samoa.
Originating in the Wuhan Province in China, the coronavirus has claimed 17 lives with over 500 confirmed cases.
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi said Cabinet is fully aware that another infectious disease outbreak would have catastrophic effects on the nation and Cabinet is not sitting on the sidelines.
“We remain committed to keeping the country safe from any infectious disease outbreak. And the initial response approved by Cabinet this afternoon covers a range of issues which prioritizes strengthening our Border Security and Preparedness.”
A Travel Advisory from the Ministry of Health has been given the full support of the National Security Committee.
“The Travel Advisory issued this evening is in effect immediately”.
“It reaffirms the Cabinet’s resolve that there is no room for complacency when it comes to the security and wellbeing of the country,” the Prime Minister assured.
Cabinet has placed restrictions on all Government Personnel from travelling to the Asia Region especially to countries such as of Japan, Thailand, South Korea, United States of America, Australia and Europe.
“Only essential trips are exempted from the restriction subject to Cabinet approval. All Non-Essential Trips by the Public Service are suspended until further notice from Cabinet.”
“For Border Security purposes, no visitor will be allowed entry to Samoa unless they satisfy the mandate to undergo medical clearance at least three (3) days before travelling to Samoa to confirm that they are free of any infectious diseases.”
“All Travellers from Coronavirus affected countries must spend at least 14 days in a country free of the virus and undergo medical clearance prior to travel to Samoa.”
Border Health Screening for All Passengers
Cabinet has also decreed for the MoH to immediately start health screening for all passengers arriving in Samoa via the Faleolo International Airport and the Matautu Wharf. Crew members on all incoming container vessels as well as long liners are not exempted from the health screens.
Cabinet has also instructed the Airport and Ports Authority to make available the needed facilities for Health Officials to quarantine any suspected visitor with Coronavirus symptoms.
For all related information on the Government response to the Coronavirus Outbreak, the Press and Communication Division (under the umbrella of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, (MPMC) has given the green light to take the lead.
“Cabinet has tasked the PCD to disseminate the Travel Advisory locally and internationally to signify the seriousness of the Outbreak and reiterate Cabinet’s zero tolerance to any uninvited infectious diseases threatening the country,” he reiterated.
The Travel Advisory is the beginning, says Prime Minister Tuilaepa.
“Until Cabinet has been informed of any new developments, the Travel Advisory will remain in effect,” he concluded.