Close to 200 Fines Have Been Issued for Breaching SOE Restrictions

Police guarding Faleolo Airport as repatriation flights arrive. Photo: Taielua, SGN.

Close to 200 fines have been issued for various breaches of SOE rules since Samoa went into State of Emergency in March 2020.

According to figures provided by the Disaster Management Office (DMO) 189 fines were issued over the 10 months between Saturday 21 March 2020 to 26 January 2021.

Fesola’i Molly Nielsen of DMO says these include 11 repatriated citizens for breaching quarantine rules during their period of isolation.

They had all been fined $2,000 tala, however, Fesola’i says only 5 have paid, while 6 have yet to come up with their fines.

A total of 178 fines were handed out to the general public for breaching various SOE conditions in the past 10 months of SOE, most of them being $200 tala fines.

The Samoa Police Service are responsible for the enforcement of SOE rules as set by Cabinet from time to time, and issue fines which are then collected by DMO.

DMO confirms that a total of $51,000 tala has been collected in fines, while 63 people have yet to pay up in part or in full; as some have requested a payment schedule.

Most of the breaches have occurred in Upolu accounting for $50,200 – while only $800 has come in from Savaii.

Agafili with Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri – keeping the nation informed.

Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo during a press conference this week advised and pleaded with all returning Samoan residents from overseas, to please exercise patience while in quarantine for two or in some cases, three weeks.

“Our advice (tuualalo) to all people that are in quarantine and also Samoans that are to be traveling back in future repatriation flights; is to please be patient while in quarantine for the sake of your safety as well as the safety of the whole country,” he said.

Agafili revealed that last weekend, Samoa Police were called in for assistance at one of the hotels where some of the 218 returning sailors were being isolated.

“$2,000 is the fine to all people breaching the restrictions while staying at the hotels, so please abide by all the restriction rules,” Agafili added.

The NEOC Chairman reminded returning Samoans to please keep in mind and be grateful for the free accommodation being provided for them while in quarantine.

During the 19th repatriation flight last Friday, one Samoan was denied entry and was taken back to Auckland because she did not meet Samoa’s pre-set medical clearance criteria for traveling back to Samoa.

Director General Leausa Dr Take Naseri reminded the remaining Samoans that are to be returning home to please take note of all pre-departure requirements such as having a Covid test 72 hours prior to boarding as well as a medical clearance form to be completed by a doctor.

The 257 passengers of this 19th repatriation flight are all confirmed covid free, with one now in isolation as a suspected historical case.

Police guarding Faleolo Airport as repatriation flights arrive. Photo: Taielua, SGN.

Marieta H Ilalio