Wednesday 4 August 2021, Apia Samoa. The safety of the people of Samoa and continued protection of Samoa’s borders from the global coronavirus pandemic will be placed at the centre of negotiations towards possible travel bubbles between Samoa and American Samoa, as well as Samoa and New Zealand.
This was the response from Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa to criticisms from the leader of HRPP, Tuilaepa Sailele Dr Malielegaoi who issued a warning through a media release earlier this week, suggesting the move was linked to pressure from the business community.
“We cannot risk our people’s lives for the sake of making a profit for some business people”, said Tuilaepa, who has repeated the same warnings on TV1 throughout the week.
Fiame, however, clarifies that the Cabinet directive to explore the possibility of a travel bubble was made after consideration of submissions and recommendations from Samoa’s National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
“No doubt there are many factors to consider,” said Fiame, “and uppermost of course, is safety of our people”.
Fiame confirms that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had expressed a direct interest in a travel bubble with Samoa, and noted the recent announcement that as of September, seasonal workers from Samoa would be allowed into New Zealand without having to go into managed isolation.