Apia -- The swab samples of the 16 year old Samoan boy who previously tested positive to Covid-19 have been received from New Zealand with a positive result of the new variant.
However, the Ministry of Health assures it is not the feared contagious variant spreading in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
“This variant is common in North America and Canada,” explained General Health Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.
He said the difference between the UK variant and the North American one, is that while the other is contagious and spreads fast, the North America variant is not easily transmissible and that it is not a strain but a variant.
“If it was transmissible then the 16 year old’s mother and passengers on the flight he was on would have gotten the virus too,” said Leausa.
He explained that when the variant has a multitude of structures then it forms a new strain.
“The term strain and variant are used interchangeably to specifically identify which kind it belongs to,” he said.
There are still no symptoms to indicate the 16 year old is sick or a loss of appetite except for the fact that he is tired of being isolated.
Leausa said if by tomorrow there is a change in his tests, then they will review it and take it from there.
All passengers who were on the same flight from New Zealand on 12 February 2021 are currently in quarantine for 21 days. Leausa said they will learn by Friday this week if they will remain quarantined for another three weeks.
Leausa said the extension depends on the tests to be conducted on all passengers on Thursday this week.
Meanwhile, all passengers on the Fiji flight on 12 February 2021 have been released from quarantine after 14 days. All have been medically cleared.
Also released are the five deportees from America who had their Covid-19 injections done in America.
The Fiji Airways flight from Los Angeles airport arrived Tuesday morning with seven patients from Hawaii and 53 Latter Days Saints missionaries.
“All passengers from the U.S and beyond New Zealand are quarantined for three weeks,” said Leausa.
There is also a flight scheduled for Friday this week from New Zealand and it might be a full flight according to the NEOC Interim Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo.
“Most of the passengers are returning sailors from Europe with the exception of 6 who are currently serving their contracts on-board the cruise ships,” said Agafili.
Samoa is the first country in the Pacific to bring all her seafarers home.
Agafili Shem Leo confirmed that since the State of Emergency orders, NEOC has fined 193 people including two companies.
The matters have been referred to police to further investigate and file charges under the SOE Orders section 15, 16 (3)
Each person is fined $2000 tala (U$795) and companies who have brought in people or cargo without proper medical clearance are fined $5000 tala (US$1,988).. (Talamua Online/PacNews)