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Endorsing the recommendations from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Samoa’s Cabinet at a Special Meeting Thursday approved initial measures to ensure the Coronavirus does not infiltrate the island nation.
While the virus, which originated from Wuhan Province in China and has so far claimed 17 lives in the People’s Republic complemented by over 500 confirmed cases, Cabinet is not complacent to the looming danger.
This was the message from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi after the Special Cabinet meeting.
“Cabinet is fully aware that another infectious disease outbreak will have catastrophic effects on the whole of Samoa 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 prioritises strengthening our Border Security and Preparedness.”
And the first step is approving the Travel Advisory from MoH with the full support from the National Security Committee.
“The Travel Advisory issued this evening (Thursday Samoa time) 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 on his weekly live Radio Program with Radio 2AP.
To that effect Cabinet approved a number of measures for Samoa to protect its border and be prepared for the worse.
Among those measures include restrictions for all Government personnel from travelling to the Asia Region especially 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.
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.
And to facilitate MoH, Cabinet has instructed the Airport and Ports Authority to make available the needed facilities for Health Officials to quarantine any suspected visitor with Coronavirus symptoms.
“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.
SOURCE: GOVT PRESS SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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