Samoa Police Maintain Law and Order During Lockdown

Samoa Police checkpoint at Vaimea, Apia. 23 Jan 2022.

Sun 23 January 2022, Apia Samoa. Day 1 of Samoa’s 48-hour nation-wide lockdown has fallen on the country’s usual rest day and the streets of Apia are empty with just a few authorised vehicles seen delivering essential workers to and from shifts.

It is not, however, a day of rest for Samoa’s frontliners such as healtcare workers monitoring the quarantined and isolated  passengers, nor the Samoa Police Service, tasked to monitor public movements and maintain law and order as tasked by Samoa’s Prime Minister during the lockdown announcement on Saturday morning.

Samoa’s Police Service have set up checkpoints across the country and on-duty officers said they have had no problems with any unauthorised vehicles.

Police checkpoint at Malifa, Apia. 23 Jan 2022.

“Everyone seems to be following the rules and no, we’ve had no problems with unauthorised vehicles trying to come through here since we started our shift.”

Police checkpoints are being set up for the duration of Samoa’s 48-hour lockdown, until 6pm Monday.

“Ua usitaia lava e le mamalu o le atunuu lapatiaga, ma e leai lava ni taavale o faafitauli i luga o auala tetele”.

Police said even authorised vehicles are being monitored. Drivers and passengers must show NEOC approved passes, they must be wearing masks, and they must also be able to show proof of vaccination.  “That applies to everyone even authorised essential workers”.

The decision to move into Alert Level 3 was announced by Samoa’s Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa on Saturday morning after Samoa registered 15 positive cases of Covid-19. Even though all 15 cases are in isolation, the Government of Samoa is not taking any chances against the global pandemic penetrating the community.

“Cabinet has decided to exercise and impose measures that will further enhance the security and protection of everyone from the virus,” said Fiame, “and to ensure the risk of a likely community transmission is minimised to the extent possible,” added the Prime Minister.

Police checkpoints on Day 1 of Lockdown. Sun 23 Jan 2022.

Samoa’s lockdown requires everyone to stay at home from 6pm Saturday to 6pm Monday 24th January 2022.

The Prime Minister said Cabinet will carefully monitor the situation and make necessary amendments depending on the situation at hand.

“Police will continue to maintain law and order, and the Disaster Advisory Committee and the NEOC will provide updates and relevant information for the general public,” said Fiame.

Secretary to Cabinet and Chair of Samoa’s National Emergency Operations Centre Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo has resounded the Government’s public plea for the country to comply by supporting the 48-hour nationwide lockdown because “the day dreaded by authorities for COVID19 to invade Samoa is here.”

“We cannot afford to be complacent,” says Agafili. “Our country is in a National Emergency and our Security is under siege from COVID19.”

Sina Retzlaff