The Director General of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri has confirmed that both of Samoa’s positive COVID-19 tests, are historical cases who had contracted coronavirus earlier this year.
This is the conclusive result of swabs and blood samples that had been taken to New Zealand for laboratory testing.
Samoa is in Alert Level 1 after two of the 274 passengers who arrived on Friday 13th November returned positive tests during standard procedure testing last week.
The ederly man in his 70s who travelled to Samoa from Melbourne had contracted coronavirus in August.
Similarly the sailor, 23, had coronavirus back in May this year, while awaiting repatriation in Italy.
This sheds light on somewhat confusing results for Samoas two cases, whereby follow-up testing had returned negative.
It also explains the test results for the elderly man’s wife and the seafarer’s roommate, who have both consistently tested negative since they arrived in Samoa.
During an NEOC update with the media this afternoon, Leausa said that in both cases, viral counts had decreased to a low infectivity level of the virus.
“The viruses in the carriers are dying or dead already, and are non-infectious and incapable of spreading”, said Leausa.
Asked what the post Covid-19 safe period was for those who have tested positive to return to the community, Leausa said that there are criteria set by overseas countries, however, Samoa will have to develop it’s own projections based on our unique situation.
“In overseas countries for example, they are using 30-35 days..and then they tender the virus negative regardless”.
“That’s why they let people home isolate..” said Leausa.
Leausa said that in both of Samoa’s historical cases the individuals had been released back into the community because they were considered recovered and “there was no chance of infection”.
For Samoa, however, the Director General said its set criteria will be 6 months, and three consecutive negative tests.
“If there is a history, and you have tested positive, you have to make sure it has been six months, and get three consecutive tests that are negative, before we let them board..”
“But that would be for next year when we resume repatriation flights currently on hold”.
Leausa said it was important for the public to understand that the virus does not remain in the body forever, and that there is a safe recovery period.
“E taumafai lava e faamalamala i le atunuu, e aua nei react seisi, faapea a maua loa oe i le koviti, e le toe alu ese; e le faapea e tumau ai pea i lou tino”.
“In both cases,” said Leausa, “the individuals had been released back into the community because there was no chance of infection”.