Covid in Samoa
Community transmission of Covid was discovered on 18 March and as at 12 May was widely spread but the hospital seems to be coping. Vaccination rates are high and the country is adjusting to the new reality of endemic Covid.
The Samoa government has announced that the borders will begin opening from May. Until then the borders are closed to tourists. There are occasional repatriation flights for Samoa citizens, but these are rare and places keenly sought. All arrivals must quarantine for two weeks at an approved hotel.
When will Samoa open to Tourism?
The government has announced that it will open to tourists (without the need for MIQ) in August. In preparation for opening to tourists it is expected to announce that there will be regular flights and reduced/no quarantine requirements from sometime in May for Samoan citizens and foreigners with work permits/justified work requirements.
Clarification of this is expected by 20 May.
Samoa and Epidemics
In 2019 Samoa suffered a measles outbreak that killed 85 people, most of them children. The outbreak was the result of lowering vaccination levels and was eventually contained with a mass vaccination program.
The 1918-1919 Spanish flu epidemic was estimated to have killed 20% of the population, but possibly 50% of the matais (chiefs). Even though this was over 100 years ago, it was still a strong part of Samoa’s history – even before the last Measles epidemic. So it is little wonder that Samoa has locked down the borders so hard, declaring a state of emergency in April 2020 that still continues.
The current closed borders are having a major effect on the economy as Tourism was approximately one third of foreign exchange earnings (remittances and aid making up a further 60%). So there is real pressure to open the country up.