1 Apr 2020

Vital medical supplies arrive in Samoa

8:51 am on 1 April 2020

Two tonnes of vital medical supplies arrived in Samoa early Tuesday morning on a special Samoa Airways flight.

Samoa Observer reports Samoa Airways confirmed flying to Australia on Monday to repatriate over 80 Australian and Japanese citizens who had been caught there after the enforced Covid-19 border closures.

It returned to Samoa early Tuesday morning carrying medical supplies, including hand sanitisers, asthma medication, wraps and masks.

An airline spokeswoman told the newspaper that the flight crew will now face a 14-day quarantine period.

The country still awaits the arrival of test kits to help diagnose for coronavirus locally.

So far 20 samples had been sent to New Zealand for testing and have all returned negative tests with 6 more awaiting transportation to New Zealand.

The Chinese government has confirmed that 500 PCR diagnostics test kits, which still need to be sent to a New Zealand laboratory for processing, are without proper cold chain transport to get to the island.

And 200 rapid test kits which test for antibodies in the blood are ironically now stuck in Auckland because of the border closures.

Meanwhile the Pacific Islands Forum has been working with New Zealand and Australia on a plan to utilize private planes or military jets to bring essential supplies to the nations of the Pacific region.

Alifereti Soakai, team leader of an Emergency Response Team of the Forum said the supplies carried would depend on the individual country needs.