30 Jan 2020

American Samoa extends state of emergency

3:14 pm on 30 January 2020

American Samoa's governor has extended a measles outbreak state of emergency declaration and imposed new travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus.

Measles screening at Pago Pago International Airport.

Measles screening at Pago Pago International Airport. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Monica Miller

All foreign travelers, except for Samoa passport holders, must enter American Samoa through Hawai'i and must spend 14 days in Hawaii before entering the territory.

Travellers from affected countries must remain in an unaffected country for at least two weeks prior to entry to American Samoa and all entry permit applications will be subject to a 30-day review period.

In announcing the extention, Lolo Matalasi Moliga confirmed the Community Health Center at Leone village has been designated as a quarantine facility for any suspected cases of coronavirus.

There are no suspected cases in American Samoa but the governor and health officials are concerned due to cases in Australia, as well as those in Asian countries.

Lolo pointed out the territory now has 15 confirmed cases of measles, which remains a threat to public health.

Meanwhile, India has given $US250,000 worth of financial support to Samoa to help the victims and families of the recent measles epidemic.

The epidemic claimed 83 lives and infected more than 5000.

The grant is the latest of a series of donations from India to Samoa, it earlier gave $1m for the Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative, which aims to promote sustainable development in Samoa.

India has also set up a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Apia and has sent two personnel from its Centre for Development of Advanced Computing to provide information technology training.

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