Samoa faces coronavirus threat shortly after recovering from deadly measles outbreakRecord ID: 1464288
- Title: Samoa faces coronavirus threat shortly after recovering from deadly measles outbreak
- Date: 16th March 2020
- Summary: APIA, SAMOA (MARCH 16, 2020) (REUTERS) MALINDO PLANE TAXIING AT AIRPORT PASSENGERS WALKING DOWN CORRIDOR STAFF IN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING TAKING DETAILS ON ARRIVING PASSENGERS AT TABLES (SOUNDBITE) (English) RADIO ANNOUNCER, NAOMI IONA, SAYING: "As being a Christian, we don't have to be worried about this disease and all those things that's happening because in the Bible it says that there will be a time that these things are going to happen so we have to get ready for it." STAFF IN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING TAKING MAN'S TEMPERATURE MEDICAL DEVICE ON MAN'S THUMB (SOUNDBITE) (English) RADIO ANNOUNCER, NAOMI IONA, SAYING: "The coronavirus here in Samoa, there's no need to worry about that. That's me and the way I've seen it. Look at our people, they will not worry. But, but we have to be prepared. Anytime the coronavirus might come and infect us, we have to get ready for that." STAFF IN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING TAKING TEMPERATURE OF MAN STAFF IN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING TAKING TEMPERATURE OF CHILD STAFF IN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING TAKING DETAILS ON ARRIVING PASSENGERS AT TABLES (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICIAN, SIO SILVA, SAYING: "It's a big worry and it's a big concern to me, definitely, surely and exactly because our population is so small and I worry about my family because when it's come we don't have the resource to prevent and cure. That's why it's a big concern to me and I worry about it." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING OUTSIDE HOSPITAL SIGN READING (Samoan/English): "MATAGALUEGA O LE SOIFUA MALOLOINA MINISTRY OF HEALTH HEADQUARTERS, MOTO'OTUA" VEHICLE DRIVING PAST MINISTRY OF HEALTH HEADQUARTERS
- Keywords: Apia COVID-19 Pacific Samoa coronavirus trade travel
- Reuters ID: LVA001C5AUP1J
- Location: APIA, SAMOA
- City: APIA, SAMOA
- Country: Samoa
- Duration: 00:02:16
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO AS INCOMING
Just a few months ago, the Pacific island nation of Samoa was in the grip of a deadly measles epidemic.
Now, medical staff are being redeployed, and facilities refitted, to combat the threat of coronavirus on an already stressed population.
While the isolated nation, located more than 1000 kilometres (621 miles) north-east of Fiji, has not recorded any Covid-19 cases, some of its residents are worried it is ill-equipped to combat the epidemic.
"It's a big worry and it's a big concern to me, definitely, surely and exactly because our population is so small and I worry about my family because when it's come we don't have the resource to prevent and cure," Sio Silva, a resident of the Somoan capital of Apia, told Reuters on Monday (March 16).
Last year's measles outbreak killed 83 Samoans, mainly young children, in a health emergency that was only brought under control less than three months ago after a mass vaccination drive.
The Samoan government said in its most recent health update on Saturday (March 14) that there were no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus.
All travellers going to Samoa, a twin-island nation of approximately 200,000 people, must obtain a medical clearance report before boarding to Samoa, and passengers are screened on arrival.
White medical tents located near the main airport that were recently used to isolate measles patients will now be used to quarantine suspected coronavirus sufferers, the government said.
The Pacific region has recorded six cases of Covid-19 - three in French Polynesia and three in Guam - although most island nations cannot screen for the virus onshore which is potentially masking its spread.
Pacific countries have been tightening their border controls to try to keep the coronavirus from gaining a foothold in isolated islands with limited health resources, which includes a total ban on incoming air travel to the United States-backed Marshall Islands.
(Production: Rudy Bartley, James Redmayne)
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