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Samoa goes into lockdown after 15 Australians tested positive

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Samoa’s Prime Minister has put the small Pacific nation in a 48-hour lockdown …

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Samoa’s prime minister has put the small Pacific nation on a 48-hour lockdown after 15 passengers on an Australian plane tested positive for COVID-19.

The infected passengers were among 73 who arrived from Brisbane on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa also said on Saturday that the government could cancel further flights from Australia. A scheduled flight from New Zealand on Saturday has already been postponed, according to Radio New Zealand.

All passengers were reportedly fully vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 before departure.

The governor of neighboring American Samoa, Lemanu Palepoi Sialega “Peleti” Mauga, issued a statement offering words of solidarity to Samoa and support for its prime minister. He also announced the cancellation of flights between the territory and Samoa for a week.

Samoa, population of 200,000, has reported 18 active cases.

American Samoa also has 18 cases, all travelers from Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines flights from Honolulu. The latest group of seven, which tested positive, arrived on January 6th.

There is no lockdown in American Samoa, and flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago continue on a limited basis.

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Associated Press writer Fili Sagapolutele in Pago Pago, American Samoa, contributed to this report.

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