RSE Workers to Pay $250NZD for Pre-Departure COVID Tests

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RSE workers at a pre-departure orientation session Samoa. PC: Gvt Press Sec

 

Amendments to Samoa’s State of Emergency Orders includes plans for a special chartered flight to repatriate up to 300 seasonal workers and those whose employment contracts have come to an abrupt end.

Announced yesterday, the press release highlighted costs to be borne by returning Samoa citizens including COVID-19 tests quoted as being NZD$250 (ST$450). 

Samoans with New Zealand passports previously repatriated confirm that the test is a drive through process at no cost to them. Members of the Manuma team also report not having to pay for the COVID-19 test.

Samoa has taken a responsibly cautioned approach since the global pandemic and its border restrictions requires all repatriated passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test as well as a medical clearance report from a doctor or clinic, before boarding at Auckland airport.

RSE workers at a pre-departure orientation session Samoa. PC: Gvt Press.

The Samoa Government press release, however, warns that Seasonal Workers who are not citizens of New Zealand, must be prepared to pay NZD$250 (ST$450) for the pre-departure COVID-19 test. It is unclear where payments would be made to.

During the 14 day quarantine period, the announcement further reminds returning citizens that dinner will no longer be provided as has been the case with previous flights.

“The Government shall bear costs of quarantine that includes breakfast and lunch, but persons are to pay for their own dinners”.

Hotels and caterers were previously given ST$30 to provide dinner for those in quarantine. For 300 RSE workers over 14 days, providing dinner for those in compulsory quarantine due to the coronavirus, would amount to a total of ST$126,000 or US$45,000.

The total cost for testing 300 RSE workers would amount to NZD$75,000 (ST$135,000) or around USD$48,000.

In March 2020, the World Bank announced USD$5.1 million (ST$14 million) as a Catastrophe-Deferred Drawdown grant for Samoa’s coronavirus response.

Reads the WB press release, “The World Bank has delivered US$5.1 million in immediate funding to support Samoa’s response to the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The funds will support Samoa’s efforts to prepare and manage its response to COVID-19”.

At the time, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea & the Pacific Islands, Michel Kerf said, “This funding is the first in a series of support that our team is now working to deliver in Samoa and across the Pacific in response to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.”

“The option was used by Samoa following the major measles outbreak in late 2019 that infected approximately 5600 people and killed 83 people, with infants and young children the most affected”.

“Additionally, in December 2019 the World Bank committed US$9.3 million to strengthen Samoa’s health systems over the coming years through the Samoa Health System Strengthening Program.”, reads the World Bank press release.

In April 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced the release of a $2.9 million (8.1 million tala) grant from its Pacific Disaster Resilience Program to help finance the Government of Samoa’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez said at the time, “The $2.9 million grant will help fund the country’s response to this unprecedented health emergency;

“This quick-disbursing financing will allow Samoa to respond rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic and help support vulnerable groups.”

Announcement in Samoan

TEUTEUGA O LE POLOAIGA O FAALAVELAVE FA’AFUASE’I MO LE CORONAVIRUS, (KOVITI-19) – 17 Iuni 2020.

OFISA OLE SO’OUPU; I lana Fonotaga FK(20)Faapitoa 27 o le Aso Lua 16 Iuni 2020, na talanoaina ai e le Kapeneta le Pepa PK(20)566 ma faamaonia ai Teuteuga o Poloaiga mo le COVID19 e pei ona auiliili atu i lalo:

1. Faigamalaga i le Va o Samoa ma Amerika Samoa
Le toe amatalia o faigamalaga i le va o Samoa ma Amerika Samoa i le Aso Tofi 18 Iuni 2020.

O nei faigamalaga o le a faaaoga ai le Samoa Airways ma le Talofa Airways e malaga ese atu ai tagatanuu o Amerika Samoa o loo i Samoa nei ma auina mai tagata Samoa o loo poloka i Amerika Samoa, ma e faavae i aiaiga ua taua i lalo:

i. Mo tagatanuu Samoa o loo fia fo’i mai, e tatau ona silia i le 14 aso talu ona aumau i Amerika Samoa;
ii. E lē faanofoesea i latou nei pe a taunuu mai i Samoa, ma o le a aga’i sa’o i o latou aiga;
iii. Le feutaga’i ma le Malo o Amerika Samoa, mo le malaga atu o vaa alalo mo feoaiga ma fefaatauaiga masani, e taulamua ai le Matagaluega o le Va-i-Fafo ma Fefaatauaiga;
iv. Le faamutaina o nei suiga pe afai e tatalaina tuaoi o Amerika Samoa i malaga mai Hawaii.

2. Femalagaiga i le va o Niu Sila ma Samoa
Le faatulagaina o polokalame o vaalele mo le toe aumaia o tagatanuu o Samoa o loo i Niu Sila faapea ma i latou sa galulue i galuega faavaitaimi e faavae i aiaiga ua taua i lalo:

i. Le faaaogaina o vaalele tetele o le Ea Niu Sila ina ia toatele ni pasese e malaga mai ai;
ii. Mo le malaga o le Aso 26 Iuni 2020, ia faaaoga se vaalele telē e mafai ona aumai ai se pasese e o’o atu i le 300;
iii. Le faatalanoa o le tulaga o le mafai ona faia ni malaga togipau a vaalele (chartered flights) mo RSE workers, ae ia faamautu tulaga i le faatupeina;
iv. Ia faaauau pea ona faia COVID tests i le tolu (3) aso ao le’i tuua Niu Sila, faatasi ai ma le medical clearance, ma e totogi lava e le pasese le tau o le faatinoina o le tui (NZD$250.00);
v. Talu ai ona o le tulaga utiuti o tui o loo iai nei, ia faamalosia le faia o tui mo nā o ē ua alia’e ai āuga o le faama’i (symptomatic);
vi. Ia taga’i i le toe faatinoina o aiaiga mo le auina atu o swaps i Niu Sila e faamaonia mai ai, e pei ona mua’i faatinoina ai.