22 Mar 2020

Covid-19 tests in Samoa, Vanuatu come back negative

4:55 pm on 22 March 2020

The first suspected case of Covid-19 in Samoa has been cleared of the virus.

Samoa's prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi announced last night that the result of samples sent to New Zealand for the female patient came back negative.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi tabling the Infants Amendment Bill 2019, which he is dubbing as the Law of Love.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi tabling the Infants Amendment Bill 2019, which he is dubbing as the Law of Love. Photo: Samoa Govt

The prime minister also announced that six other samples from patients who had been tested were negative.

The results for two remaining patients have yet to be received.

The young woman who was the first suspected case had traveled from Auckland, New Zealand to celebrate her 21st birthday in Samoa. She presented at the national hospital in Samoa with symptoms of Covid-19 on Wednesday.

She was admitted and put in isolation while samples were sent off to Australia and New Zealand.

The naming of the young woman by a local newspaper led to her and her family being the target of abuse.

The other patients who were tested for coronavius are reported by the Ministry of Health to be in isolation at the national hospital at Motootua.

"These cases have a history of travel to or contact with a relative who had traveled to Australia, Fiji, New Zealand or Spain and then had flu-like symptoms upon return to Samoa," said the Ministry of Health.

The results of six of these patients have now turned out to be negative for Covid-19. And the nation is now awaiting the results for two of them.

In his announcement of the test results last night, the prime minister also said that American Samoa has requested that Samoa allow a flight(s) on the now closed inter-Samoa route, so that American Samoan citizens and residents who are now stranded in Apia can return home.

The group includes ministers of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa.

Tuilaepa said the request has been referred to the Disaster Advisory Committee.

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Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

American Samoa Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga had told a meeting of church leaders yesterday that he had received a call from the President of Kanana Fou, requesting his intervention on behalf of about 10 church ministers who were stranded in Samoa when flights between the two Samoa were suspended.

He said that a request has been made to Samoa's prime minister.

An amended decoration of emergency issued by the Samoa Government last night still included the suspension of flights to American Samoa.

Vanuatu test comes back negative

Vanuatu's government says tests for a resort worker with a suspected case of Covid-19 have come back negative.

Tests were sent to a laboratory in New Caledonia.