By: Asenati Taugasolo Semu
Samoa nationals and residents returning from overseas will face a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi issued the reminder as he confirmed the Cabinet-approved Air New Zealand flight originally announced as arriving on the 19th of May, now due to touch down on Friday the 22nd of May.
The flight is for repatriation purposes, however the Prime Minister confirmed that over 900 have registered their interest for the flight.
“We are looking at 150 passengers to be on this flight, but there are about 900 people wishing to return to Samoa,” said the Prime Minister.
“The priority will be for returning residents who already paid return airfares from Samoa-New Zealand-Samoa, and whose visitor’s visas have expired, and should return home.
“That’s why the Government has allowed the flights from New Zealand to bring our people home, but make no mistake the strict restrictions according to our State of Emergency Order will be followed.”
Aside from the 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Samoa, the Prime Minister reiterated that no returning Samoan resident will be allowed to board the plane unless they have met the requirements for a COVID 19 Medical Checkup and clearance, within three days of departure.
“All passengers travelling from New Zealand to Samoa on this flight should each undergo a medical check to make sure they are not infected with the COVID 19 virus;
“When these passengers arrive, they will be quarantined for 14 days in isolation.
“Which means, there are prevention processes that should be taken in New Zealand, and when they arrive in Samoa, they will also undergo our prevention processes.”
The Prime Minister said he was mindful of travelers booked on Samoa Airways, and advised that they purchase Air New Zealand tickets, and receive refunds for their Samoa Airways fares when they return home.
“For our people who will not be on this flight, be patient. The Government is closely monitoring this first flight, to make sure all the passengers are clear of the virus after the 14 days quarantine stage. The decision for another flight from New Zealand will depend on the outcome of this.
“We have to play it safe; we really need to be cautious and patient.”
The Prime Minister urged those who have symptoms or have contracted COVID-19, to not return to Samoa.
“If you know that you have the COVID 19 and if you know that you are sick, don’t come on this flight.’
“At this time of the pandemic, Government is prioritizing the lives of 200,000 plus residents.”
The Prime Minister warns that any person or persons that may arrive with coronavirus, will undoubtedly face the wrath of an angry and vengeful nation of Samoans.
“That’s how serious this matter is to our people, and our Government is taking every step to make sure that the country remains safe and free from COVID 19.”