Two Countries That Are Taking Coronavirus Travel Bans To The Greatest Extremes

Samoa is requiring all passengers entering the country or transiting through it to undergo medical screening three days prior to travel to the country.

The government is also enforcing reductions in international air service to reduce the flow of travel.

  • Samoa Airways must reduce its Auckland – Apia service from 5 times a week down to 3. Air New Zealand has to reduce its frequency on the route from 6 to 3.

  • Both Samoa Airways and Talofa Airways have to drop their Pago Pago – Apia frequencies down to four times a day each.

  • Fiji Airways has to reduce Nadi – Apia from five down to two times a week.

Samoa is requiring 14 day quarantine even passengers who transited Thailand or Singapore prior to entering the country. They’ve turned away their own citizens who connected in Singapore.

Other passengers were quarantined on arrival when Hawaiian Airlines failed to refuse boarding though under Samoa’s rules they should have been quarantined for two weeks prior to travel.

Meanwhile Micronesia banned travelers from any country where there was a confirmed coronavirus case.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Very understandable of the extreme precautions and steps they are taking due to the location of these islands and the size of the population and facilities available.

  2. For a second I was confused because I was thinking Samoa is part of the United States, then I remembered there is Samoa AND American Samoa. Different things, I’m probably not the only one forgets that regular Samoa is actually a separate country.

  3. My parents had a trip to Samoa & American Samoa planned for this spring… between this medical exam and a bunch of hoops to get measles paperwork in line, they cancelled in favor of staying in Australia. I’m sure they won’t be the only travelers who skip out because of needing to take an extra step.

  4. I think this is very understandable remember they have been subjected to some of civilized worlds best virus’s and diseases.

  5. It’s brutal for Micronesia. United might as well stop flying the Circle Mike route because, with Micronesia’s restrictions, there’s almost nobody who qualifies for travel and those 737s will be flying mostly empty.

  6. The medical certificate restriction is very wrong because it forces every week hundreds of otherwise healthy people to go to a hospital or clinic actually increasing their risk of exposure, and taking the precious appointment time of doctors and nurses who otherwise could be looking at actually sick people.

    Also, the 3 day medical check requirement is not even restrictive enough to make all tourists cancel their plans, but also not effective given that the biggest chance is that one will have symptoms later.

    It is much better to check for symptoms at the airport before you fly, instead of this stupid and dangerous requirement of making healthy people go needlessly to clinics for a medical checkup certificate

  7. Micronesia is a region, not a country. Citizens of parts of the region are holders of US passports. I’m wondering how you can deny access to people of your own country.

  8. @Christian, “Micronesia” in this case is specifically referring to the Federated States of Micronesia, which is a country. “Micronesia” is the generally accepted shorthand, just like the “America” is an acceptable shorthand for the United States of America, even though “America” could also refer to two entire continents.

    The four states of Micronesia, fwiw, are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.

  9. As a doctor, I can assure you that this is NOT excessive for countries with minimal Intensive Care Unit beds.

    Coronavirus is our worst nightmare. We are no better at preventing viral illness than 100 years ago, when Spanish Flu had a similar mortality rate (possibly lower judging by the Italy cases) but was less contagious…..and that in an era before mass travel.

    The worst is about to hit us. And it’s going to be really, really bad.

  10. @Autolycus – Fair enough.

    @DavidF – “We are no better at preventing viral illness than 100 years ago” – Umm, no. Not only do we have vaccines now, which did not exist 100 years ago, but we have ready access to other preventative measures. If that weren’t the case, health care workers in Africa would have been dying left and right from assisting in the Ebola crisis. They really didn’t teach you this stuff in medical school? That said, you’re completely right that we’re very likely to get hit and it won’t be pretty.

  11. Hello from Samoa, where I was meant to fly to American Samoa this morning! Nope, denied boarding – first time ever. If I want to go, then I must spend 14 days here in Samoa before I can travel on to Pago Pago.

    It’s put somewhat of a spanner in the works of my trip and despite having travel insurance, they’re being difficult about it. Suspect I’ll have to go back to NZ or Aus and over to Hawaii from there.

  12. @DavidF, when you state “Coronavirus is our worst nightmare” I am lead to the assumption that you have a Doctorate in Fine Arts. There are many other pathogens what are much more horrific than the Coronavirus. Enough with the sensationalism!!!!

  13. @DavidF, when you state “Coronavirus is our worst nightmare” I am led to the assumption that you have a Doctorate in Fine Arts. There are many other pathogens that are much more horrific than the Coronavirus. Enough with the sensationalism!!!!

  14. Both American Samoa (Pago Pago) and Samoa (Apia) are closed to cruise ships. Our cruise was scheduled to stop there last week, and those port calls were deleted. So was port call in Mare, New Caledonia. Fiji (Suva and Lautoka), Vanuatu and Noumea, New Caledonia were still open when we arrived, but required screenings before going ashore. French Polynesia required us to go directly to Papeete for screening, and our port call in Huahine was also scrubbed.

    We were told (and I believe) that the health systems in all of these countries could not handle an outbreak of coronavirus. Many of the islands’ health practitioners are native healers using traditional medicines. A hospital on those islands is akin to an urgent care clinic in the U.S. And, locals in isolated cultures may not have the immunities to fight off a viral infection of this type.

    On the other hand, the cruise was disappointing, and the cruise line’s response (Oceania) was poor, to say the least.

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