11 Mar 2020

Covid-19: WHO preparing Samoa, Tokelau

8:36 am on 11 March 2020

The World Health Organisation is helping Samoa and Tokelau prepare for Covid-19.

A worker at a medical supply store organizes PFF-2 respirator mask that customers are buying as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, the COVID-19, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 27, 2020.

Photo: AFP

Both countries have been given infrared thermometers to screen passengers at ports of entry and healthcare facilities.

They also received personal protective equipment including medical masks, gloves and surgical gowns.

Samoa's Health Ministry has been given advise on how to sensitise the public on stopping the spread of Covid-19 through the adoption of proper handwashing and coughing etiquette.

And Tokelau has asked for help to teach Covid-19 prevention measures in schools

Meanwhile, the WHO said Samoa was on the cusp of declaring the end of its measles outbreak, having achieved a 46-day period since the last infection.

Fiji Catholic Church takes anti outbreak steps

The Catholic Church in Fiji has announced precautionary measures against the Covid-19.

Sacred Heart Church in Levuka, Fiji

Sacred Heart Church in Levuka, Fiji Photo: Supplied

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong said holy water would be removed from churches.

Also the act of worshippers sipping from a cup during communion, to symbolise receiving the blood of Christ, will be cancelled during mass.

Shaking hands as a sign of peace could be replaced with a respectful bow or acknowledgment, Bishop Loy Chong said.

Church ministers should use alcohol-based sanitisers prior to communion.

"We recognize that the risk of contracting Covid-19 in Fiji is very low but let us not be complacent," he said.

"Once the international threat of the Covid-19 ends, we can as a faith family return to the usual practices of using holy water, the chalice of Christ's most holy blood and the shaking of hands."

The restrictions have been adapted from the Australian Council of Catholic Bishops.

Meanwhile, infrastructure projects at Nadi Airport have been put on hold as a result of financial set-backs caused by the coronavirus.

Chief executive Faiz Khan said the global slowdown in travel and reduced flights had forced the company to halt all work.

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