25 August 2020, Apia. The Samoa Prime Minister has today announced the cancellation of the next repatriation flight from Auckland amidst fears of the second wave of COVID-19 in New Zealand.
The next repatriation flight was due to depart Auckland this Friday 28th August 2020, however, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says the main concern for Pacific Island Country leaders is that the second wave has now affected Pacific people in the South Auckland area.
Speaking during his weekly media program with 2AP, the Samoa Prime Minister says it is better to be safe than sorry, and prevention is better than cure.
In response to the second wave of coronavirus, the New Zealand government have placed the Auckland region on Alert Level 3 until 11.59 pm Sunday 30th August while the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2.
There are 7 new cases of COVID-19 today, 25th August 2020 bringing the national total of active cases to 129.
The Government of Samoa in collaboration with the Government of New Zealand and Air New Zealand have been coordinating repatriation flights out of Auckland in response to a high demand from Samoan nationals and residents wanting to return home.
Samoan citizens in New Zealand has been called to register their requests to return home with Samoa’s Consular General in Auckland. This week, however, the Consular General issued a notice advising Samoan residents in New Zealand that the registration is being temporarily suspended in light of the situation in New Zealand.
Residents and nationals abroad includes Samoan students, hundreds of seasonal workers on temporary employment contracts, and sailors stranded with the ceasing of cargo vessels and cruise ships.
Close to 300 seasonal workers whose contracts have ended, were booked to return home on this Friday’s repatriation flight.
Beyond New Zealand, there are indications of Samoa nationals in USA, UK and other European cities as well as in China, Japan, Republic of Korea and other Asian cities. There are also Samoa nationals stranded in our Pacific neighbouring countries.