Samoa’s Cabinet Approves Flights to and from New Zealand and American Samoa

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5 February 2022, Apia Samoa.  With the latest round of testing confirming no new covid cases for Samoa, Government has announced approved return flights between New Zealand and American Samoa, to resume under SOE restrictions in the coming weeks.

A press statement issued on Friday night confirms an updated set of State of Emergency Orders were approved by Samoa’s Cabinet at its meeting held last Wednesday, which continued on to Thursday, states the release.

The first flight since Samoa went into recent lockdowns was an Air New Zealand cargo-only flight that had come in last Friday.

The cancelled repatriation flight that was set to arrive on the 22nd  of January has been rescheduled for this coming Saturday 12 February. This flight has been approved for cargo and passengers, both ways.

On Wednesday 16 February an outbound chartered flight has been approved to take seasonal workers from Samoa to New Zealand. No incoming passengers are expected on this flight. On Saturday 19 February an incoming cargo flight has been approved to return to New Zealand with cargo as well as passengers.

The statement confirms flights shall also resume between the two Samoas, to allow American Samoa citizens stuck here in Upolu to return home, and to return Samoa citizens from Pago.

Samoa has been in Level 3 and Level 2 lockdown mode since the 73 pax Brisbane repatriation flight arrived with covid positive passengers two and a half weeks ago, on Wednesday 19 January.  Samoa has been able to contain covid cases in managed isolation for over two weeks now, with 31 confirmed cases – 25 passengers and 6 frontline nurses who had been isolated with their patients since the flight arrived.

The latest testing, said to be the 7th round of tests conducted on the 73 passengers and 228 frontliners taken into quarantine as precautionary measures, has returned with no new cases. The Ministry of Health have also repeatedly stated the 31 positive individuals have been asymptomatic over the past two weeks.

According to the Ministry of Health’s latest reports, 87.2% (106,774) of Samoa’s eligible population are double vaxxed while 96.5% (117,681) have had their first doses.  For youth between 12 and 17, Pfizer doses were administered through high schools in December last year before the school break. Of that roll-out 19,782 students are reported to be fully vaccinated, while 25,851 have had their first dose only. The Ministry has also confirmed arrangements are being finalised for the delivery of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 years, and booster shots for the population will soon be made available.

Press Statement in Samoan

I lana Fonotaga FK(22) 03 o le Aso Lulu 2 Fepuari 2022 ma fa’aauau ai i le Aso Tofi 3 Fepuari 2022, na talanoaina ai e le Kapeneta le Pepa PK(22)80 ma faamaonia ai faigamalaga mo vaalele ua faailoa atu i lalo:

I. Aso 5 Fepuari 2022 – Malaga a le Air New Zealand e aumai ai uta mai Niu Sila ma toe ave ai na o uta (cargo only);

II. Aso 12 Fepuari 2022 – Malaga a le Air New Zealand e aumai ai uta ma pasese na toe toloa mai i le Aso 22 Ianuari 2022 ma e ave ai pasese faapea oloa e faatau atu i fafo (Cargo & passengers both ways);

III. Aso 16 Fepuari 2022 – Malaga togipau a le Air New Zealand e auina atu ai tagata faigaluega mo galuega faavaitaimi i Niu Sila ae tapu ona aumai ai ni pasese (Outbound RSE Charter);

IV. Aso 19 Fepuari 2022 – Le malaga mai o vaalele e aumai uta ae ave ai pasese ma uta i le taimi e toe foi ai (Cargo in, cargo and passengers out);

V. Le faigamalaga i le va o Samoa e lua e toe faafoi ai tagata Amerika Samoa na malaga mai e talosaga mo visa i le Ofisa o Amerika faapea tagata faigaluega na malaga mai i Niu Sila ia Tesema 2021 ma o loo faatali avanoa ai lava iinei. E aumai ai foi o tatou tagata o loo toe fia foi mai Amerika Samoa;

VI. E fa’aauau pea le usitaia o aiaiga faale-soifua maloloina ua faataoto mo nei malaga.

O lenei faaiuga na faia i lona tulaga faanatinati e tusa ai ma le Vaega 38(1)© o le Faavae o le Malo Tutoatasi o Samoa.