Coronavirus: Samoa announces first case

The Samoa Islands announced Thursday that they had detected their first case of Covid-19 contamination, the Prime Minister of this Pacific archipelago with precarious health infrastructure calling for calm the 200,000 inhabitants.

Head of government Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said it was a sailor who arrived last Friday by plane from Auckland and who was placed in guarded isolation.

Before leaving New Zealand, this man was in possession of a negative test for Covid-19 but another sample was found positive on Tuesday, he said in a statement on television.

Until recently, small Pacific island nations had successfully prevented the spread of the epidemic by closing their borders despite huge losses to the tourism industry.

But in the past two months, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and now Samoa have reported cases of the coronavirus.

So far, the islands, nations and territories of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu have not reported any cases of Covid-19.

Hospital infrastructure is precarious in these Pacific islands where a large number of inhabitants suffer from obesity and heart disease.

Last year, a measles outbreak killed 83 people in Samoa, including babies and newborns.

The Samoan prime minister said his government would decide on Thursday whether restrictions were to be put in place for the entire population.

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