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Director General of Health confirms 22 suspected cases in Samoa
6:07 pm GMT+12, 25/03/2020, Samoa

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, has confirmed that Samoa has had twenty-two suspected cases of the coronavirus since the start of the Government's COVID19 response campaign.
 
Sixteen of those suspected cases have had their tests return negative, he has also confirmed. These include all the eight suspected cases the Government had announced during the weekend.
 
Leausa provided the figures in a video update posted by the Government on its Facebook page on Wednesday night.  
 
Of the six pending cases, four were sent to New Zealand on the last flight from Faleolo to Auckland before New Zealand’s border shutdown on Tuesday.
 
Two suspected cases were found after the flight had left and those samples remain in Samoa.
 
Asked what would happen to suspected cases in Samoa now that there are no flights to Auckland where the tests are done, the Director General said the Government has a plan.
 
“So for example of specimens we did yesterday but the flight had already left,” he said. “So we are storing them in the lab (in Samoa).”
 
Leausa said China has offered to donate five hundred testing kits.
 
“So when these kits arrive, we will use them to test these, just like all the assessments being done now,” he said.
 
He did not say when the kits from China would arrive.
 
The Director General said they expect more suspected cases, especially given the approach they are taking towards ensuring nothing is left to chance.
 
“Even if we get more suspected cases tonight and tomorrow, we will pile them up (in the lab) so we can use these kits.”
 
He also confirmed that the Government has found a company that would provide Samoa with some 4,000 test kits immediately at the cost of just under $200,0000 (US$70,000).
 
He said the kits are being bought for US$19 per kit and this information has been referred to the Ministry of Finance for procurement. He added that the Government is willing to do whatever needs to be done to ensure Samoa is protected.
 
The Director General also assured that the Ministry of Health is not leaving anything to chance. That means a number of suspected cases are being treated as part of precautionary measures.
 
For some suspected cases, the patients are not people who had travelled to New Zealand or Australia but they are people who have had contact with relatives from those countries.
 
Leausa reminded that the best form of protection is to heed the precautionary measures being offered by the Government through the COVID19 State of Emergency.

SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS


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