4 Sep 2020

American Samoa clarifies quarantining of Covid workers

12:07 pm on 4 September 2020

American Samoa says quarantine will be imposed on coronavirus related workers - including US Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel - entering the territory.

Veterans Affairs Center which has been turned into a quarantine facility

Veterans Affairs Center which has been turned into a quarantine facility Photo: Monica Miller

The new requirement was included the latest amendment to the Covid-19 Declaration, in which the territory remained under Code Blue threat level, even as it remained the only US jurisdiction without a confirmed case.

The amendment said the "imminent threat of an outbreak in American Samoa constitutes a disaster justifying a continued state of emergency and activating all resources necessary to combat the spread of Covid-19".

Previously Covid-19 related workers entering the territory weren't required to quarantine upon arrival but were monitored for 14-days.

Although that had changed the government said there would still be mitigation to allow such workers to conduct their duties.

An example of such a plan included, providing office space with internet connection at the quarantine site and allowing access to a rental car for them to drive around with a Department of Health escort in a separate vehicle for site visits.

Community contact would still be avoided.

The specific requirement comes amid a disagreement between the territorial government and FEMA over local quarantine requirements of two federal disaster personnel in the past month.

Without a resolution, FEMA pulled its ground disaster personnel from American Samoa, as the federal agency worked remotely to address local needs.

Other previous restrictions remained in place for the 8th amended declaration such as borders remaining close to commercial air travel, businesses operating hours restricted to 5am to 9pm and all bingo games being suspended.