American Samoa

American Samoa's repatriation system picks up five Covid-19 cases

The four are now under the care of state health officials along with one person who may have been exposed to them.

All have been removed from the hotel in Honolulu.

The information was revealed at a press conference with Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga and members of the Covid 19 Task Force, led by Lieutenant Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale.

Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua said those who tested positive were members of a family who had travelled from the mainland.

Covid-19 positive sailor in American Samoa port

The vessel, Coral Islander, arrived Friday and the Department of Health team boarded to carry out coronavirus tests for the crew.

One of the 20 crew members yielded a positive result for coronavirus.

The Coral Islander sailed from Japan and called into New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga before it arrived in Pago Pago.

An epidemiologist Dr. Aifili John Tufa said the two health department personnel who carried out the tests and the administration pilot who guided the vessel into port were now in isolation.

Covid-infected ship in American Samoa to remain offshore

The container ship, the Fesko Askold, has 17 crew on board.

It arrived in Pago Pago on Sunday afternoon and sailed out of the main harbour at nine yesterday morning.

It remains about eight kilometres from shore.

American Samoa's COVID-19 task force chairman Iulogologo Joseph Pereira said this would allow local authorities to complete their assessment of the situation and come up with a plan to offload and pick up containers.

He said steps had been taken to decontaminate the dock in case of any contamination while the vessel was dockside.

Voting underway in American Samoa

Electors are casting ballots for the gubernatorial race - to elect the governor and lieutenant governor; for the territory's Delegate to the US House of Representatives and 20 or the 21 members of the local House.

The Swains Island seat was already decided in a meeting last week, with incumbent Su'a Alexander Jennings returning for an eighth term.

Prior to polls open today 1,601 absentee ballots had already been. Of these, 892 are outside or off island absentee ballots and 709 are local absentee votes.

Another American Samoa lawmaker returns Covid-19 cheque

Pago Pago Representative Vesiai Poyer Samuelu said when the cheques were distributed he questioned the House speaker about the source of the money but got no answer.

Some lawmakers had said the leaders told them the funds can be used to set up offices in their homes and pay for telephone and internet costs.

The House Speaker and Senate President received US$20,000 while senators and representatives got US$10,000 each.

Tuala uta Representative Larry Sanitoa was the first legislator to return his cheque.

American Samoa sends sample of suspected case

The case is a woman who is being quarantined at home after travelling to New Zealand.

The local resident had already spent 14 days in quarantine in Samoa before arriving in the territory on 14 March.

Department of Health Epidemiologist Aifili Dr John Tufa said two days before she arrived in American Samoa she developed a slight cough.

She had been given a three day health clearance by the Samoa's Ministry of Health.

A few days later she started having breathing problems and called the Department of Health.

American Samoa won't host Polynesian Leaders Group

American Samoa was to host the inter-governmental meeting involving eight Polynesian members in April.

Originally the territory was to host the event in July 2019 but Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga asked Tuvalu, which hosted the Pacific Forum meeting, to host the PLG alongside the forum.

Lolo had said the territory would step up and host the meeting in January 2020 instead.

However, because of the Samoan measles epidemic, the governor then postponed the meeting until April.

Methamphetamine use at crisis levels in American Samoa

Fofo District faipule Andra Samoa said like many villages on the main island, Tutuila, her village of Leone is infested with ice, as the drug is known locally.

It has become so prevalent even elementary school children are using it, Ms Samoa said.

Dealers and users are widely known yet their operations continue with some being children of local matai, she said.

Search for American Samoan teens called off

It had been extended to midnight beyond the 72 hour search period which finished at 2pm yesterday.

The local senator Fai'ivae Iuli Alex Godinet said a big problem with the search had been the length of time getting the patrol boat to Utumea from its base at Fagatogo.

He said if there had been a boat based at nearby Leone they would have found the cousins well before the search period was up.

Fai'ivae said it may not have saved their lives but it would have given closure to the families.

Rising ocean flooding American Samoa's Aunuu

One resident, who did not want to be named said government leaders should come and see the damage for themselves.

The resident, who is a government worker, said last week the island lost power for several hours because ocean waves rolled into the area where the power generator plant is located.

Photos he took showed a road covered by rocks and debris thrown up by the sea.

The resident said people were worried about children getting caught by waves washing across the road.