State of Emergency Declared for Samoa

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A two week State of Emergency has been declared in Samoa in response to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) global crisis which will take the nation into fasting and prayers from 6am to 12pm each day.

The Head of State of Samoa, Afioga Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II has signed off on a 14 day State of Emergency announced after 10pm and effective within two hours at 12:00 midnight Saturday 21st March 2020.”

The declaration includes the closure of all flights between Samoa and Fiji which has left many including students in a state of uncertainty, with several of them stuck in Nadi with no money to pay for accomodation or food.

Travellers between Upolu and Savaii due to travel on Saturday between the two islands have also been left is dissaray with the announcement that boats are NOT to travel on Saturday, and will allow only two round trips on Sunday.

There shall be no public gatherings of more than 5 people which esssentially closes schools, church gatherings, sports events and Entertainment gatherings including all nightclubs, bars and theatres.

Buses are also not permitted to travel while taxis remain operational as a public transport.

In terms of financing the state of emergency, the orders state that, “financing of the implementation of this Order shall be funded by the appropriate budget approved by the Government”.

No mention has been made in relation to any financial support for those impacted by the various orders such as loss of employment and income.

The following are the orders as set out by Government for Samoa:

1. National fasting and prayer:
A national period of fasting and prayer is to be observed by every family in Samoa from Sunday 22 March 2020 until Saturday 29 March 2020 from 6.00am – 12.00pm daily.

2. International travel:
(1) All international travelers, travelling to Samoa are prohibited from entering Samoa unless:
(a) the traveler is a returning citizen or resident of Samoa; and
(b) that returning resident or citizen has undergone a COVID-19 test 5 days before entering Samoa.
(2) There shall be only 3 flights between Samoa and New Zealand, for each carrier and each carrier must not exceed carriage of 490 passengers per week to Samoa.
(3) There shall be only 1 flight between Samoa and Australia per week.
(4) The following flights are suspended until further notice – between:
(a) Samoa and Tonga;
(b) Samoa and Fiji;
(c) Samoa and American Samoa.
(5) All travel plans for overseas countries under the seasonal worker schemes which includes RSE, SWP, PLS) is hereby stopped until further notice.
(6) All travel plans for overseas countries for scholarship purposes are hereby stopped until further notice.

3. Domestic travel:
(1) All operators of Public transport (buses) are ordered to cease operation until further notice.
(2) Travel between Upolu and Savaii is reduced to travel weekly on the following days:
(a) Sundays;
(b) Wednesdays;
(c) Fridays.

4. Public gatherings:
(1) There shall be no public gathering of more than 5 people at any public place.
(2) There shall be no public gatherings of any sort which include but are not limited to:
(a) Church gatherings;
(b) Sports events;
(c) Entertainment gatherings.
(3) All nightclubs, bars, theatres or any public place people accustom for social gatherings are to be closed.
(4) All people are prohibited from gathering at airports or wharves unless it is for permitted travel.

5. Public transport:
➡️Vehicles
(1) The operation of public transport such as buses and vans that carry more than 5 people are prohibited.
(2) Operators of public transport that carry 5 people or less are permitted to continue operation.
➡️Ferries
(3) Travel between Upolu and Savaii is restricted to three days a week as follows:
a. Sundays
b. Wednesdays
c. Fridays.

6. Markets:
(1) The Savalalo, Fugalei, Salelologa, Vaitele markets, and all other flea markets or any market which the public have access to, are only permitted to open from 6.00am – 4.00pm after which a curfew will be in force from 4.00pm to 6.00am daily.
(2) Every person is required to return home by 4.00pm and are not permitted to sleep at any market.

7. Street vendors
(1) There shall be no selling of any goods beside roads, street, culverts or footpaths.
(2) Children selling goods in public is strictly prohibited.

8. Schools:
(1) All schools are to close until further notice.

9. Access to Health Facilities:
(1) All persons of the age of 60 and above are to remain at home and must not move out and about in public, unless he or she is seeking medical attention at any health facility.
(2) All persons are prohibited from accessing any health facility unless he or she is seeking medical attention at any health facility.
(3) A person that is admitted to the hospital may:
a. only have one carer to tend to him or her; and
b. only be visited by 2 people at any one time.
(4) All patient care intended for travel overseas under the Samoa Medical Treatment Scheme are hereby suspended until further notice.

10. Restriction for Government services:
(1) The Public Service Commission (“Commission”) is to determine conditions in which employees are to continue working under, with the objective of ensuring minimal spread of infection.
(2) The Commission’s conditions shall apply to all Government Ministries and Public Bodies.
(3) All Government trips overseas are hereby suspended until further notice.

11. Ministry of Health duties:
The Ministry of Health shall ensure to implement awareness programmes for the prevention of the spread the COVID-19.

12. Samoa Police Service:
The Samoa Police Service shall implement this Order.

13. Special Powers of Government Chief Executive Officers:
All Chief Executive Officers of Government Ministries and Public Bodies are empowered to exercise their statutory functions, duties and powers provided under any legislation, or administrative functions for the implementation of the Sector Preparedness and Response Matrix Consolidated for Coronavirus Pandemic.

14. Financing:
The financing of the implementation of this Order shall be funded by the appropriate budget approved by the Government.

This Order remains in force as long as the Proclamation of Emergency is in force.