12 Mar 2020

Covid-19: Samoa ready to quarantine suspected carriers

8:54 am on 12 March 2020

Samoa is now ready to quarantine people suspected of carrying the Covid-19 coronavirus, the prime minister says.

The Faleolo Health Centre, built a few years ago by the US government, has been upgraded for the purpose.

On his weekly radio programme, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said four air conditioned tents had been erected on the grounds of the health centre.

The tents, which were donated by the UN children's agency UNICEF to isolate measles patients, can also be used to quarantine patients suspected of having Covid-19, Tuilaepa said.

The tents are phase one of the government's coronavirus contingency plans, he said.

Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Photo: Samoa Govt

Kava sessions could spread Covid-19

Fiji's prime minister has suggested people rethink their habits at kava sessions, in light of the threat of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Frank Bainimarama said practices like sharing the same kava bowl - or bilo - could be a risk.

The bowl is traditionally passed around a circle, with each person taking a sip from the same bilo.

Kava bowl

Photo: RNZ Pacific/ MacKenzie Smith

Meanwhile, the Fiji government has opened a new molecular laboratory which is able to test for Covid-19.

So far, no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in any Pacific country.

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