Returning Samoans Must Declare if They Have Had Coronavirus

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Samoa’s Cabinet has imposed new compulsory regulations for residents returning from overseas on repatriation flights.

Approved at a special meeting of Cabinet held last Friday, it is now mandatory for all returning Samoans on repatriation flights to verify through signed declarations, if he or she had contracted COVID19 or not, before they are allowed into the country.

The added restriction comes after two passengers on Samoa’s 15th repatriation flight returned positive tests during routine checks while in compulsory 14-day quarantine.

As confirmed by Samoa’s Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri, “the ederly man in his 70s who travelled to Samoa from Melbourne had contracted coronavirus in August, while the seafarer, 23, who travelled from Italy, had coronavirus back in May this year.

The pair have now been declared “historical cases” for Samoa, with “viral counts decreased to a low infectivity level of the virus”.

The Government Press Secretariat release says anyone found violating the new mandate “is subject to face legal repercussions prescribed by law”.

The added declaration is in addition to current regulations that require all passengers to provide a doctor’s approved medical clearance, and a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 3 days of boarding. 

The Director General of Health had also stated during this afternoon’s media conference that blood sample testing may soon be considered as an additional requirement.

For the two remaining repatriation flights from Auckland, Samoa’s Cabinet has declared priority be given to Samoan residents in New Zealand, and Samoan students who have completed scholarship studies in New Zealand and Australia.

The two flights are scheduled for the 4th and 7th of December, with the 14-day quarantine period ending before Christmas. 

The Government has also confirmed that repatriation flights for Samoans in Fiji will go ahead as scheduled, to return scholarship students and missionary workers.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is taking the lead as the implementing agency for repatriation from Fiji. 

The public seeking further clarification on all repatriation flights are asked to contact “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade at Phone 21-171 during working hours”.