Samoa, one of last Covid-free places, records first case

Clea Skopeliti
·1-min read
<p>Many Pacific island nations closed their borders early</p> (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Many Pacific island nations closed their borders early

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Samoa announced its first coronavirus infection on Thursday after confirming that a man who was repatriated to the Polynesian island country on Friday has tested positive.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the man was in quarantine, and appealed for calm in a televised address to the nation of 200,000.

The country had been one of the last coronavirus-free countries in the world after shutting its borders early, despite the high cost to its tourism-dependent economy.

Samoa joins a host of other Pacific Island nations that have announced their first Covid-19 case recently, with Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands all discovering an infection in the past two months.

However, none have reported community transmission, and the island nations and territories of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu are understood to still be virus-free.

Addressing the public while wearing a mask on Thursday, Samoa’s prime minister said: “We now have one case and will be added to the countries of the world that have the coronavirus.”

Mr Malielegaoi said the man who had tested positive had been repatriated via Aukland, though his previous location was not disclosed.

The man had returned a negative test in New Zealand, before testing positive a few days after arriving in Samoa, the Samoan premier explained, according to a report in news outlet Channel New Asia.

The prime minister has said a further announcement will be made regarding any introduction of coronavirus measures.

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