In the past few months, the Pacific island nation of Samoa was combating a deadly measles outbreak. Now, the medical staffs are again being redeployed, and facilities restructured, to fight the risk of coronavirus on an existing stressed population.
Condition of the Pacific region
While the secluded nation, which is located more than 1000 kilometers (621 miles) north-east of Fiji, has not registered any COVID-19 cases. However, some of its residents are tensed it is ill-equipped to fight the epidemic.
“When it comes, we don’t have the resources to prevent and cure, that’s why it’s a big concern to me,” musician Sio Silva said in the Samoan capital of Apia on Monday, according to Reuters’ report.
“We don’t know if it’s inside our island already but don’t have the resources to test it.”
The Pacific region has reported six cases of COVID-19, three in French Polynesia and three in Guam. However, most island nations are unable to screen for the virus onshore which is possibly hiding its spread.
Medical Clearance is required
According to the most recent health update (on March 14) of the Samoan government, claimed that there were no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Pacific countries have been strengthening their border controls to prevent the coronavirus from gripping the isolated islands with limited health resources. All incoming flights to the Marshall Islands which are backed by the United States have been banned.
People traveling to Samoa, a twin-island nation of about 200,000 people, must get a medical clearance report before the boarding procedure, and passengers are also screened on arrival.
White medical tents that were present near the main airport were recently used to isolate measles patients will now be utilized to quarantine potential coronavirus sufferers, according to the government.
Measles outbreak of last year killed 83 Samoans, majorly young children, in a health emergency that was only brought under control less than three months ago following a mass vaccination drive.
“We have to be prepared, anytime that the coronavirus might come and infect us, we have to get ready for that,” Naomi Iona, a radio announcer, told Reuters in Apia.
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