Tuesday 22 March 2022, Apia Samoa. After almost two and a half years of maintaining community free from covid-19, Samoa’s first community transmission was detected last Thursday 17th March 2022, triggering a four day lockdown due to end at midnight tonight. In a press statement this afternoon, Samoa Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa has announced the country will continue its Code Red Alert Level 3 lockdown for a further two weeks. In delivering the announcement Fiame said Cabinet has approved the recommendation from NEOC on the basis that despite mass vaccination campaigns, a portion of the population was still found to not be fully vaccinated.
“Our message from the outset of the covid response has been in all countries clear. Vaccines are highly effective in protecting against severe disease and death.. Unfortunately the tests conducted this week showed that some have not even started their vaccinations or not had their two doses,” said the Prime Minister. “In this connection Cabinet approved the continuation of Level 3 for another 14 days commencing from midnight to Tuesday 22nd of March to midnight Tuesday April 5th”.
Simple Protective Behaviours
The Prime Minister said the current surge of community cases was expected and will continue to increase due to the transmissibility of this virus.
“However, it is clinically proven that promoting the practices of simple protective behaviours that can reduce risk to ourselves, our friends and our families,” said the Prime Minister. Fiame called on Samoa to stay home, and so reduce contact with other, as well as adhere to preventative health measures that will help to reduce new infections and subsequently contain community transmission.
“These are crucial components of our national response to covid-19,” said the Prime Minister who assured that the Ministry of Health will continue to undertake all necessary health measures to contain the spread of the virus and respond to cases requiring hospital care.
Maintaining High Vaccination Rates – Children to Start in Savaii
“Enhanced surveillance and well as maintaining high vaccination rates necessitate the rollout of paediatric pfizer for children 5-11 years old, expected to commence this week in Savaii and the continuation of the vaccination rollout for everyone including booster doses once the bulk supplies arrive over the next week”, the Prime Minister confirmed.
The Prime Minister said details on the rollout of vaccinations and information on actions to be taken if a positive test is returned, would be forthcoming.
The Prime Minister confirmed essential services and opportunity to stock up for households would be limited to two days a week. “Wednesday 23rd March given this late notice, Saturday 26th March, Tues 29th March, Sat 2nd April and Tues 5th April. All other services all close throughout the two weeks.”
Samoa’s Health Ministry will continue to lead testing of covid-19 at testing sites, monitor current and emerging cases, and rollout vaccinations for children youth and adults.
Remain Resilient and Unified – God is Our Refuge
“Every phase of our journey will present new difficulties but we need to remain resilient an unified and accept that each one of us contributes to maintaining our well being and the health of our nation,” encouraged the Prime Minister. “God will not leave nor forsake us in the midst of this storm let us continue hold on to our faith that God is our refuge our shield and fortress.