Gov lean towards “new norm of living with COVID-19”

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The Samoa Government has called on public and private sectors to consider response plans going forward to reflect the new norm of living with COVID-19 and the best way forward with the gradual opening of borders. 

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa made the announcement tonight during her special program. 

The Government has also relaxed its State of Emergency order restrictions of the extended lockdown, with curfew hours opening from 6 am to 4 pm.

In addition, it has also added Thursday as the third day of the week to allow the public to restock and get their vaccines and testing underway.

The amendments follows a mad rush on Saturday with lines at banks, money transfer institutions, stores, vaccine sites, which forced the Government to extend another three hours for the public.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa during her special announcement tonight said the course of action was upon recommendation by the Disaster Advisory Committee.

“It’s meeting this afternoon, Cabinet was advised that we would receive 70,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine tomorrow afternoon. “This coincides with the plan to commence the mass vaccination of booster doses on Thursday this week in Upolu and on Friday in Savaii.”

She said this is inclusive of the Pfizer vaccination for children 12-17 years and pediatric Pfizer vaccination for children 5-11years.

“In rolling out this plan, Cabinet is mindful of the capacity of our frontline workers given the increasing numbers of those who have tested positive and are being isolated allowing our frontline worker’s space to recuperate and to roster their teams with assistance from the Health Private Sector will ensure continuity of our National COVID-19 response.

“As well as the commitment to our equally important health services such as our National Immunisation Programs to be delivered in a safe environment.”

The Prime Minister added this will also allow providing the opportunity for the different sectors to finalize their response plans going forward to reflect the new norm of living with COVID-19.

“And identify best ways to way forward with the gradual opening of borders.”

Adding that with the rapid surge and new infections the aim is to slow down transmission to drive the vacations to achieve the targeted coverage required.

“It is clear from clinical evidence that changes of developing acute symptoms of or likely death from COVID-19 will be minimal with complete vaccination and a booster dose.”

The Prime Minister said it’s vital to get the protection by completing vaccinations given the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Samoa.

In this regard, Cabinet approved the second week of alert level 3 for Samoa commencing tomorrow night 29 March, until 5 April.

To date, the confirmed cases in the country now stand at 1,239 and the Prime Minister said there are no cases in the Intensive Care Unit, most of the cases that were isolated at the hospital after developing mild symptoms have been discharged.