2 May 2020

American Samoa extends Covid State of Emergency

4:02 pm on 2 May 2020

American Samoa's Covid-19 State of Emergency has been extended until 1 June.

The territorial government's coronavirus taskforce chief, Iulogologo Joseph Pereira, said the governor decided to keep current restrictions in place until the end of June.

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa Photo: AFP / Michael Runkel / Robert Harding Premium

Iulogologo said Lolo Matalasi Moliga's decision continued a policy "erring on the side of caution" to prevent Covid-19 from entering American Samoa, the only US state or territory which remains free of the virus.

He pointed to the unsettled state of the US including Hawai'i and warned of potential exposure to "a second wave if we accelerate the elimination of restrictions."

The additional 30 days, Iulogologo said, would give the territory's Department of Health and the LBJ Tropical Medical Center time to fully implement their 'Testing Plan' which was subject to the availability of test kits.

The government would also use the extra time to compile data to improve future decision making, he said.

Restrictions continue under the extended declaration including the social distancing protocol, closure of all public and private schools and the ban on public gatherings.

Family gatherings remain limited to a maximum of 10 people.

All airlinks beyond the territory remained suspended although Hawaiian Airlines weekly Honolulu flight was scheduled to restart on 1 June. Flights linking the two Samoas were under constant review but also remained suspended.

Business operating hours in the territory remained restricted from 6am to 6pm with the exception of the StarKist Samoa cannery.