Coronavirus live news: US may begin vaccinations before Christmas; Vietnam sees first case in three months

Samoa’s two positive Covid-19 cases have been declared historical cases and not infectious.

The cases were detected in a 70-year-old who had travelled from Melbourne in Australia, and a sailor repatriated from Italy. Both Samoan citizens arrived in Apia on a repatriation flight on November 13, and subsequently tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

But further examination of their cases has found they were both historical: the sailor had the virus in May and the Australian-based man in August.

Blood samples from the two cases were sent to New Zealand: results showed low viral counts for both, and the cases were deemed not to be infectious.

Samoa’s director-general of health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, said the two positive cases, and the rest of the 274 passengers who arrived in Samoa on the same flight, will have to remain in quarantine for an additional seven days as a precaution.

The hotel in Apia, Samoa, where the country’s first case, now found to be historical, was confirmed.

The hotel in Apia, Samoa, where the country’s first case, now found to be historical, was confirmed. Photograph: Nadya Va’a/The Guardian

Leausa said all front-line workers at the airport, including health staff, police, and airport crew had been tested and cleared of the coronavirus.

Samoa has recorded no other cases of the coronavirus.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, the Mariana Islands has recorded 106 cases, 80 of which have been imported to the islands, mainly from the US mainland and the US territory of Guam.

Fiji has recorded four more cases, all in border quarantine.

But French Polynesia, one of the worst affected territories in the Pacific, has surpassed 14,000 cases, and 73 deaths. 82 people remain in hospital, including 21 in intensive care. France has flown out additional medical personnel to assist with the surge in cases.

All but 62 of the 14,096 confirmed cases across French Polynesia came after the archipelago re-opened its borders in July and abolished mandatory quarantine.