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Samoa confirms 67 cases of swine flu - schools closed for a week

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  • Samoa confirms 67 cases of swine flu - schools closed for a week

    Samoa confirms 29 cases of swine flu
    9:51AM Friday Jul 17, 2009
    By Cherelle Jackson

    APIA ? There are now 29 cases of the H1N1 flu virus in Samoa, the country's Ministry of Health has confirmed.

    Speaking to Radio Polynesia, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry Professor Pelenatete Stowers said the test results received last week confirmed the increase in the number of cases for Samoa.

    Last week Vaipouli College in Savaii was quarantined after several students showed symptoms of the international pandemic.

    Sources close to the school suspect that the virus may have been passed to the students by visiting recent guests from Australia and New Zealand.

    Last week 16 cases were announced, and within a week 13 new cases were confirmed according to Stowers in the interview with Radio Polynesia.

    The Ministry of Health are still screening all passengers arriving at Faleolo International Airport.

    The stringent response by the Ministry of Health has been criticised by some tourism workers as a deterrent to tourists coming into Samoa.

    However the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health says that one can never be too careful.

    Samoa's history is a painful reminder of the impact a pandemic can make on the lives of such a small nation.

    In 1918 one fifth of the total population of Samoa, more than 8000 people died as a result of the influenza pandemic.

    The spread of the influenza took one week according to historical evidence of the incident.

    - Apia Review Online
    Latest breaking news articles, photos, video, blogs, reviews, analysis, opinion and reader comment from New Zealand and around the World - NZ Herald
    "The only security we have is our ability to adapt."

  • #2
    Re: Samoa confirms 29 cases of swine flu

    Perhaps this is a reason for the increase:

    Aussie tourists shun Fiji, go to Samoa
    Tamara McLean
    July 14, 2009

    Australian tourists are picking lesser-known Pacific islands for their tropical winter breaks to avoid the political instability in military-led Fiji, leaders claim.

    The leaders of two Pacific nations, Samoa and the Cook Islands, say their tourist numbers are on the rise because many Australians and New Zealanders no longer want to visit Fiji.

    They say that the refusal of Frank Bainimarama's regime to take the country to elections since staging a December 2006 coup has been an "active turn-off" for visitors.

    Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele says the global economic crisis has hit his country hard, cutting employment rates and remittance earnings - but tourism appears to be booming.

    He believes Fiji's situation has brought "enormous" tourism benefits in both the Australian and New Zealand markets.

    "We have noticed a huge improvement in people choosing to come here instead of going to Fiji, with everything going on there," Tuilaepa told AAP.

    "Who can blame them.

    "Quite obviously we are a much better option."

    Jim Marurai, prime minister of the Cook Islands, said he too had been facing tough economic times but tourism was holding strong.

    "Tourism is the backbone of our economy and to date the numbers have been stable," he said.

    In fact, visitor numbers for June were up two per cent on last year, a trend for which Fiji was likely responsible, Mr Marurai said.

    "It's very possible that Fiji contributed to the continuity of the stability of tourism numbers," he said.

    Fiji Tourism failed to return calls on the issue but its head, Josefa Tuamoto, said last week that the tourism industry was in strife.

    However, he blamed swine flu, rising fuel costs and bad press after extensive flooding at the beginning of the year for the downturn.

    New Zealand's prime minister, John Key, said during a trip through the Pacific last week he was "not surprised" to see tourists voting with their feet.

    Fiji was suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum in May after setting a belated September 2014 election date and Commodore Frank Bainimarama refusing to relinquish power while the country slid into a recession.

    Investment and employment rates are in decline, the dominant sugar cane industry has faltered and heavy public and media censorship remains in place under orders from the regime.
    Aussie tourists are picking lesser-known Pacific islands for their tropical winter breaks to avoid political instability in military-led Fiji, leaders claim.
    "The only security we have is our ability to adapt."


    • #3
      Re: Samoa confirms 29 cases of swine flu

      More positive tests for swine flu in Samoa

      Posted at 23:06 on 23 July, 2009 UTC

      Samoa has more confirmed swine flu cases following the arrival this week of more positive test results from New Zealand, putting the number of confirmed H1N1 influenza cases in the country at thirty seven.

      The fast spread of flu like symptoms in a number of villages on the outskirts of Apia has forced the Ministry of Health to establish a temporary location in town for affected people to seek medical treatment.

      The General Manager of the National Health Services, Dr Stanley Dean, says the move was made because the number of flu patients coming to the main national hospital for advice and treatment has increased to 200 a day.

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      "The only security we have is our ability to adapt."


      • #4
        Re: Samoa confirms 67 cases of swine flu - schools closed for a week

        Samoa swine flu shutdown widens

        Desmond Ang

        Last Updated: -2 hours -6 minutes ago

        Samoa is going into shutdown mode to help contain the spread of swine flu.

        Schools have closed for a week, as the number of confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus rose to 67.

        Community organisations have been asked to postpone meetings and churches to suspend Sunday services.

        Palanitina Toelupe, chief executive of the Pacific nation's Health ministry says a majority of people affected in the outbreak are between the ages of five and 25 - "so, yes, the majority are school-age students".

        The numbers of children seeking medical help with flu-like symptons are rising.

        Risk to exams

        The official told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat authorities will consider extending the school closure if things get worse.

        Tupae Esera, chief executive of the Education Ministry, says the health of students is most important and authorities will also consider postponing end-of-year exams.

        "The health of the students and the population is paramount and we don't want to take that risk," he said.

        "Where do we put our priorities, the health of the kids or the exams? If we have to delay the exams, we will delay the exams."

        Mr Esera said the ministry would get a "slap on the hand" whatever decision it took over exams. "We just have to rely on the health people".

        The principal of the Leififi College in Apia, Petaia Tuaniu, says parents have been supportive of the decision.

        Mr Falefata says some of students and staff have already taken ill.

        "A lot of students in classrooms having a lot of coughing, a lot of headaches and a lot of students having a lot of pain in their throats."

        Faced by this, the health officials had decided to close schools, he said

        "The only security we have is our ability to adapt."


        • #5
          Re: Samoa confirms 67 cases of swine flu - schools closed for a week

          Why schools have been closed: Health PDF Print E-mail
          Written by Alan Ah Mu
          Wednesday, 29 July 2009 15:34

          [Fear of the swine flu has forced most people like this mother and child to mask up.]

          Fear of the swine flu has forced most people like this mother and child to mask up.
          A fruit picker returning from overseas infected four members of his family with swine flu.
          It is why they stress self-imposed isolation of sufferers of flu of whatever variety, general manager of National Health Services, Dr Stanley Dean, said yesterday.

          Keeping a distance from loved ones for three days is so important to stamping out the flu, Dr Dean said.
          So is covering up mouths when coughing and washing hands, he said.
          Stopping swine flu in its tracks is the aim of the order issued last week by the Ministry of Health for schools to close for the whole of this week.

          The reason is the swine flu is a five-day virus, said Dr Dean.
          Children who bring the virus home from school place the most vulnerable of households, children aged five and below and the elderly, at risk,
          he said.
          The head of National Health Services confirmed the order applied to all schools and is compulsory.

          Dr Dean explained the reason for the clinic opened in town and located at an open fale belonging to Samoa Tourism Authority.
          The swine flu virus of H1N1 virus flourishes in confined spaces like offices.
          When an infected person sneezes the virus shoots out and is most likely to find new hosts in a confined space.

          Outdoors or in an open fale, especially near the sea breeze where the clinic is located, the virus dies quickly once it is out of the host.
          Confirmed cases of swine flu sufferers has reached 67.
          These were the confirmed cases out of 140 swabs tested for the virus, said Dr. Dean.

          Swabs are only taken from victims who have running noses, he said, for a test result to be valid.
          So the number of those infected with swine flu should be higher ? which is why the constant reminder for precautions to be followed.
          Dr Dean said work places where staff face the public daily are inquiring about facial masks.

          They charge $40 per box containing 100 masks, he said.
          National Bank of Samoa has issued staff with masks for protection.
          The Ministry of Police is considering adopting the precaution.
          "The only security we have is our ability to adapt."