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Samoan expert: Samoa thanks China for helping ensure zero COVID-19 case

(People's Daily Online)    11:06, April 27, 2020

Samoa has so far reported zero confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), for which the country should thank China, said Poao Dr Lamour Hansell, head of the Covid-19 taskforce in Samoa.

As of April 26, with no confirmed cases in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, this makes the country one of the few in the world that have not been struck by the pandemic.

Prevention is the best remedy for the pandemic, Hansell noted.

Samoa’s population is around 200,000, and its number of doctors across the country is less than 100. With only one comprehensive hospital, Samoa replies entirely on import and foreign assistance for anti-epidemic supplies.

Under the direct leadership of the Chinese Embassy in Samoa, a Chinese medical team, which is the third batch of Chinese medical teams sent to Samoa since 2018, has learned from China’s experience in prevention and control of COVID-19 online and imparted to local medical workers, while drafting a guide to prevention for the country.

At the beginning of last March, China shared its experience in epidemic prevention and control with Pacific island countries including Samoa via video conference.

Samoa has referred to measures taken by China including: stressing early discovery, early reporting, early diagnosis and early quarantine for the prevention and control of the disease, limiting opening hours of supermarkets, stipulating that certain distance shall be kept among people in social occasions.

The Chinese government has set up a special emergency fund worth $1.9 million for joint efforts of China and Pacific island countries to fight COVID-19, and provided $200,000 of financial aid for Samoa under the fund, according to Chao Xiaoliang, Chinese ambassador to Samoa.

In addition, medical supplies provided by China for emergency aid to Samoa, including nucleic acid testing kits, protective suits, face masks, safety goggles, and forehead thermometers are expected to be transported to the country in batches, Chao disclosed.

Local governments in China and Chinese non-government organizations and enterprises, including the Jack Ma Foundation, have also actively donated anti-epidemic supplies such as respirators to help Samoa safeguard its people amid the pandemic.

In the current severe situation of COVID-19, China attaches high importance to health cooperation with Samoa, which has fully demonstrated the strength of the friendly ties between the two countries, Samoan Head of State Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II noted when meeting with Chao in late March.

Since 2018, the three batches of medical teams China dispatched to Samoa have performed nearly 1,000 operations in the country and provided diagnoses and treatment for more than 10,000 local outpatients.

Last January when COVID-19 broke out in China, the third Chinese medical team dispatched to Samoa received online training in prevention and control of the disease immediately in a bid to help fight the virus when they return to China, according to Wang Yonggang, head of the third Chinese medical team sent to Samoa.

Considering that Samoa might need them for its epidemic prevention and control efforts, members of the Chinese medical team volunteered to stay and help the country after their task expired on Feb. 5, Wang disclosed.    

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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