Community transmission confirmed; Samoa to go into lockdown

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Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa confirmed a community transmission case in Samoa late Thursday, with the country moving to Alert Level 2 for 24 hours before being elevated to Alert Level 3 from 12am Saturday to go into lockdown.

The positive community transmission case was discovered on Thursday afternoon, after an individual underwent testing for COVID-19 as part of the Government’s requirement before flying out of Samoa this weekend, when the test result came back positive.

The individual has been put in isolation at the National Hospital’s isolation ward at Moto’otua with the Ministry of Health (MOH) now commencing contract tracing to identify other members of the public who came into contact with the individual.

Mata’afa said Samoa will move to Alert Level 2 or Orange at 12am Friday 18 March with the Alert getting elevated to Level 3 or Red from 12am Saturday 19 March which entails a nationwide lockdown until midnight next Tuesday 22 March.

“In accordance with our COVID 19 Alert levels, I hereby declare that commencing from midnight tonight, Friday, 18th March, the whole country will go into Alert Level 2 until midnight tomorrow, Saturday, 19 March 2022,” PM Mata’afa said.

“Under Alert Level 2, the showing of vaccination cards and wearing of facial masks are mandatory. All schools will be closed, as well as night clubs, bars, and fitness Centres and games. Other services will remain open.

“Beginning from mid night tomorrow Saturday, 19 March to midnight Tuesday, 22 March 2022 our Alert level will move to Level 3 (Red), a nationwide lockdown.

“Under Alert level 3, all schools will remain closed, including public gatherings, churches, and other services except for essential services.

“As we go through Alert level 2 and 3, the M.O.H. will continue with its contact tracing and will provide all necessary health measures to contain a potential rapid community transmission.

“Cabinet will assess the situation before the end of the nationwide lockdown and will advise the country accordingly.

“Although our country continues to traverse through these difficult times, let us continue to trust in the lord, for he is our healer and protection.

“The Government ask for your patience and support in keeping Samoa safe,” she said.

A copy of a report submitted by the MOH to Cabinet on the movements of the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has been published online and shared by so many people on different social media platforms.

The individual is a 28-year-old from the village of Vaitele-Tai. According to the report, the individual developed symptoms on Saturday (12 of March) and went to the Apia International Christian Church on Sunday.

On Monday, she then went to the Emergency Unit at the Moto’otua Hospital with symptoms of “vomiting and chills.”

She stayed at home on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday, she went out to do shopping and she went to the market, the library, CCK, travel Agency Fiji Airways and then attended a church gathering that evening of about 20-30 people.

On Thursday, the individual, caught a bus to town from Vaitele tai to the market in town. She then got on the Moto’otua bus to the hospital.

From the hospital, she caught the National University of Samoa (NUS) bus to the NUS campus at Vaivase. She had a bible sharing with about 15 students next to the chemistry laboratory at NUS.

She then left NUS and had lunch with a friend at the McDonalds restaurant in town, then walked to the waterfront and then to the police station, where she caught another bus to go to the hospital at around 4pm where she underwent COVID-19 testing.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS