The repatriation flight originally announced by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to be scheduled for the 19th of May, then rescheduled to this Friday 22nd May has once again been postponed by a further seven days to next Friday 29th of May.
Potential passengers have been told that the postponement is to allow time to fulfill the entry requirements into Samoa. One of the requirements listed on the State of Emergency Orders is for all passengers to have a negative COVID-19 test result that is not more than three days old.
According to the Samoa Prime Minister, over 900 Samoan citizens stranded in New Zealand have registered their interest to return to Samoa. He also says there are only 150 seats available on this first flight.
It is unclear as to who has the final say in the chosen 150 to be repatriated on this first flight since the closure of borders.
The Samoa State of Emergency Orders refers to priority given to citizens who held confirmed tickets to Samoa before the border lockdown. Samoan citizens with expired NZ visitor visas were also listed as priority, however, it is a commercial flight and passengers would need to purchase an Air New Zealand ticket of they had originally travelled on Samoa Airways.
Some travellers who had been preparing for the Friday 22nd flight say they had taken COVID-19 tests in the past 48 hours, which will now be of no use to them, wirh the flight postponement.
The following Travel Advisory restrictions were issued by the Government press and publicised for travellers to note.
This travel advisory and information sheet is to inform you prior to your arrival into Samoa, that all passengers travelling from abroad must be quarantined for 14 days at a designated facility. The purpose of this quarantine is to minimise the potential for COVID-19 to be introduced into the wider Samoan public. Though you may feel well, we cannot at this stage rule out any exposure you may have potentially had in the last few days and even exposure on the flight over to Samoa.
Before you arrive back home to Samoa these are the requirements the Ministry of Health of Samoa would appreciate your compliance and patience with. These include but not limited to the following listed below.
⚠️Travel Requirements for Returning Passengers⚠️
• All are required to have a COVID19 test and a medical report done within three days before Arrival.
• You will not be permitted to board the plane if you have a positive COVID19 test or COVID19 test NOT Done or you have any of the following symptoms:
o Sore throat
o Flu-like symptoms
• You will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival into Samoa at a designated location.
• You must prepareand bring with you your own personal hygiene items e.g. soap, tooth brush, tooth paste etc., enough to last for 14 days of quarantine.
• You will only be allowed 1 piece of luggage when boarding.
• You are not allowed to bring any additional packages/parcels for delivery upon arrival into Samoa to family members etc.
• If you have any known medical conditions, you must inform Foreign Affairs and MOH what your conditions are and what medication you are on prior to departure and ensure you have enough medication to last you for 2 months.
• You are not allowed to bring alcohol into the country or allowed to take any into the quarantine sites.
• You must indicate to Foreign Affairs and MOH if you have a special dietary requirement or allergies prior to departure.
• You are required to maintain social distancing in flight and must wear a face mask at all times
❗Children and Infants
• All Children SHOULD be accompanied by a Parent or legal guardian.
• Parents are advised that all children’s immunizations are up to date with emphasis on measles vaccination due to the recent outbreak in Samoa.
➡️Parent/legal guardian travelling with an infant/child MUST ensure sufficient supplies ofbasic needs e.g. diapers, wipes, formula etc. while in quarantine.
❗Please take heed of the following important notes in relation to your quarantine:
1. It is important that you observe infection prevention and control advice which includes:
a. Wear a mask at all times when leaving your room and when you are in close contact with a person with respiratory symptoms.
b. Wash your hands regularly with soap and clean water for 40-60 seconds or alcohol-based hand rub (sanitizer) for 20-30 seconds
c. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it into the bin and wash your hands after
d. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth
e. Avoid gatherings of more than 5 people
f. Clean frequently touched surfaces (door handles, phones etc.)
g. Alert our health team if you feel sick during anytime whilst in quarantine
2. You are required to clean your own room/space – the equipment and products will be available, please ask the staff.
3. Your food will be supplied (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and delivered. Those who have given prior advice of special dietary needs will be provided.
4. You should have with you a sufficient supply of the basic essential needs including for personal hygiene items for your 14 day quarantine.
5. You are to make your own arrangements for communication and internet services.
6. You are allowed to walk around outside but must wear a face mask, stay within the compound, and observe social distancing – at least 2 metres between you and another person when talking or socialising.
7. You are not allowed to consume alcohol while in quarantine.
8. The Government of Samoa will not be responsible for any damaged or lost personal items. You are liable to pay for any damage to quarantine facilities throughout the quarantine period.
⚠️There are penalties if the conditions of the quarantine are breached.⚠️
1. A Public Health team will come around to check your temperature and screen for respiratory symptoms daily as part of the quarantine process – it is important that you comply and advise the team honestly if you are experiencing any illness.
The key signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath.
2. During this process, please advise the team of any medical conditions you have and medications that you are taking.
3. Please alert the team if you have any urgent medical needs.
Quarantine can be distressing, it is important you maintain good mental health. Some suggestions of items you can bring with you to ease the stress while in quarantine;
➡️Pack a book(s) to read
➡️Have activity books e.g. Sudoku and cross word
➡️Colouring/activity books for children
We endeavour to keep Samoa COVID-19-Free. Your compliance with the conditions listed herein are imperative to ensuring the safety of all who are travelling and our people in Samoa.
We pray for your safe repatriation to Samoa.