19 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: 10-20 day wait for Samoa test result

6:30 am on 19 March 2020
Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital

Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital Photo: facebook

It could be 10 to 20 working days before Samoa knows whether or not it has its first case of Covid-19.

A government statement last night said an Aucklander has been placed in isolation at Apia's Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital, showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

They had been experiencing flu like symptoms for two days after flying to Samoa on March 11 for a family occasion.

It said samples had been sent to Melbourne for testing, but will take 10 to 20 working days to return.

It is not clear why it will take so long for test results to return.

Australia's minister for the Pacific, Alex Hawke, said Covid-19 test results are usually returned to Pacific countries within three to four days.

The Samoa government is yet to respond to a request for clarification.

Meanwhile, Samoa's government is urging anyone who is planning to go to the country to stay away, saying the risk to the country from Covid-19 is "very high."

In a statement, the health ministry said "all those intending to travel to Samoa to attend birthdays, weddings, reunions, funerals, conferences, sports, etc to CANCEL their travel plans."