4 April 2022, Apia Samoa, PM’s Special Announcement. Samoa Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa has announced Samoa’s nation-wide lockdown at Alert Level 3 (red) will shift down to Alert Level 2 (orange) starting Wednesday 6 April 2022 for a period of two weeks, as she encouraged all sectors to implement their business continuity plans under the new norm, of living with covid-19.
Some amendments have been made to the State of Emergency (SOE) orders for Alert Level 2, to help reduce congestion in public places, continue to drive vaccination and testing programmes and to assist in slowing down new infections.
“At the same time Level 2 provides space for government ministries and corporations, private sector and civil society to operate businesses and to deliver services for the country”, said the Prime Minister in a public address on Monday night.
These amendments include opening hours for all businesses and shops, from 6am to 2pm from Monday to Saturday, with no business or shops to be open on Sunday.
Church services will re-open but restricted to 30 people, and funerals will also be restricted to 30 people. Other gatherings are allowed but restricted to 15 people.
Ferry services between Upolu and Savaii will operate from Monday to Saturday, under Level 2 restrictions, and, wait for it, the sale of alcohol which has been prohibited for the past two weeks, remains prohibited.
In our hope to safeguard young children especially those who are not yet fully vaccinated, they are not allowed in public places, said the Prime Minister, and schools will remain closed.
“Under Level 2, Government, Private Sector and Civil Society are required to implement their business continuity plans under the new norm – living with covid-19”, stressed Fiame.
“This includes but now limited to strict observance of wearing masks, social distancing, showing vaccination cards, undergoing covid tests, health and safety of employees and the general public served”.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the health of the nation remains a priority of the Government and should continue to remain the nation’s responsibility for all levels.
“Health is wealth and it goes without saying that our health is in our hands,”
The Prime Minster said Cabinet had considered recommendations from the Disaster Advisory Committee, and will continue to prioritise the drive for vaccinations programmes for eligible age groups, as well as booster doses now currently underway.
“At the same time, important considerations should be made on how to adjust and operate under the new norm of living with covid-19”, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said that under these considerations, it is unavoidable to make sacrifices, adjust our national, organisational and individual plans to do business, understand our own context and assess our capacity to respond to the challenges ahead.
In relation to the current numbers of cases being above 2k and with two deaths, the Prime Minister said these are known consequences of the virus given the experiences of other countries.
“In fact, due to the transmissibility of the covid-19 virus, many people will be infected and recover. A percentage of those infected will develop acute symptoms, and will require hospital care”.
“There will be deaths,” said Fiame. “”That is why it is paramount for everyone to be fully vaccinated and continue to adhere to health preventative measures to minimise new infections”.
The Prime Minister thanked the nation for their support and prayers and Samoa moves ahead to curb the impacts of covid-19 on its people.
Samoa is one of the last places on earth to have had to deal with a community outbreak, with frontliners and its National Emergency Operations Centre team (NEOC) and Ministry of Health leading efforts to keep the nation covid-free for over two years.