TRAVELLING TO SAMOA TO ATTEND A FUNERAL IS UNLAWFUL, -N.E.O.C. CHAIRMAN AGAFILI
(GOVERNMENT PRESS SECRETARIAT); 25th January 2022, Apia Samoa – If proven, passengers from Brisbane Australia alleged to have breached the COVID19 State of Emergency Orders by deliberately failing to declare and/or request Government for permission to come to Samoa for personal matters, (e.g. funeral) are liable to face criminal charges, pay a fine of not less than $2,000 tala or both.
The S.O.E. prohibits any person returning to Samoa for personal reasons and it is compulsory for them to file a formal request in writing with the appropriate local officials for authorization to do so.
But this was never the case for the flight from Brisbane Australia where 15 passengers remain in isolation after testing positive when they arrived last week. Since then 5 registered nurses who provided health care for the positive cases while in isolation have also tested positive bringing the total to 20 positive cases.
“None of the 73 passengers on that flight had applied to N.E.O.C. or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for permission to travel to Samoa to attend a funeral or any other personal obligation,” clarified N.E.O.C. Chairman Agafili Tomaimanō Shem Leo during a Press Conference Monday evening.
And if the allegations are proven, N.E.O.C. will filed a formal criminal complaint with Police complemented by issuing the minimum fine of $2,000 tala prescribed by the S.O.E.
“This is the first time we have received information that some passengers on that flight had breached the SOE by travelling to Samoa to attend a funeral,” the N.E.O.C. responded to press inquiries. “It’s a blatant and deliberate violation of the SOE Orders.”
N.E.O.C. under its due diligence and framework awaits the Incident Report to verify if there are sufficient grounds to refer the alleged S.O.E. breach to Police for the appropriate criminal action.
Samoans with dual citizenship are also placed on notice with Agafili reiterating that while Government respects their constitutional rights to use their Samoan citizenship to return home, there are also binding law requirements inked in the S.O.E. designed to protect the Government’s interests and well-being of local residents.
N.E.O.C. have documented cases implicating returning Samoans using their Dual Citizens to travel home as Samoan Citizens than departing for overseas a few weeks later using their New Zealand, Australia or U.S.A. citizenship. And yet local taxpayers are footing their repatriation expenses which include accommodation, meals and associated costs.
SOE AMENDMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Contained in the latest S.O.E. are amendments which are crucial for the public information to minimize any fictional informational sharing-
1. International Travel By Plane, Boat Or Ship:
(1)All international travel to and from Samoa by plane or boat or ship are prohibited.
(2) Cargo flights to Samoa are permitted to bring in cargo goods and any other passenger as pre-approved by Cabinet.
(3) Airforce flights to Samoa are permitted as approved by Cabinet for:
(a) the carriage of firearms and ammunition, or
(b) the transporting of any assistance for emergency; or
(c) any other purpose in exceptional circumstances.
(4)All boats and ships and yachts are prohibited access except for:
(a) trade and petroleum;
(b) any other category of ships, boats and yachts for offloading, refueling and the restock of necessary supplies only or as approved by Cabinet for exceptional circumstances.
Specifically declare whether or not they have been infected with the COVID19 virus, and must be quarantined on arrival in Samoa for 21 days or a period as determined by the Director General on the following terms and conditions:
(a) at the places and conditions to be determined by Cabinet and costs of accommodation, breakfast and lunch for Samoan citizen passengers only are to be borne by the Government but dinner will be their responsibility whilst in quarantine;
(b) at the passenger’s home as approved by the Director General of Health upon prescribed conditions determined by him or her for approval for self-isolation quarantine.
(2) All frontline and support staff must isolate and quarantine if directed by the Director General in accordance with the terms and conditions as determined by the Director General of the Ministry of Health.
(3) The Ministry of Health is to continue with the approved medical clearance of all involved under this order.
3. Public gatherings:
(1) All Public gatherings and events are prohibited.
(2) All persons must be isolated and remain at their place of residence except for authorized personnel.
(3) For the purpose of this order, all persons must comply with the measures for the prevention of the spread of COVID 19 put in place by the Ministry of Health and National Emergency Operation Centre.
4. Domestic Travel:
(1) All public transport and commuting by buses, taxis and private vehicles
2. Isolation and Quarantine
(1) Any passenger, pilot and crew members travelling into Samoa by plane must complete the Medical Clearance Health Documentation Check in Form an are prohibited.
(2) Private vehicles under (1) are permitted on the road during the permitted times as defined in Order 5(4). (3) All domestic travel by Planes, Boats, and Ferries are prohibited except for the authorized cargo vessel permitted on 26 January 2022 for the purposes of offloading, refueling and the restock of necessary supplies only or as approved by Cabinet for exceptional circumstances.
5. Markets, small shops, supermarkets, and businesses:
(1) All businesses must close except for the following:
(a) Markets which may open during permitted times;
(b) Supermarkets which may open during permitted times;
(c) Small shops which may open during permitted times;
(d) Banks and Money transfer Institutions which may open during permitted times;
(e) Pharmacies which may open during permitted times;
(f) Petrol stations which may open during permitted times;
(g) Electric Power Corporation Cash power outlets during permitted
(2) All authorized staff of exempted businesses under Order 5(1):
(a) are permitted to commute to and from their place of work from 6am — 4.00pm; and
(b) must carry their Government issued authorization card.
(3)All persons who enter exempted businesses under Order 5(1) must:
(a) be 12 years of age and above;
(b) show COVID19 Vaccination card;
(c) wear a face mask;
(d) enforce social distancing.
(4)For the purposes of this Order:
(a) “supermarket” is a shop where a person walks in through doors to purchase any groceries, and any other item; and
(b) “small shop” means a small shop with no walk in doors, and where purchase is made through the window opening/s;
(c) “markets” means markets selling fresh produce and fresh food items but does not include fish markets and flea markets:
(d) “exempted businesses” means the businesses identified in Order 5(1); (e) “permitted times” means the hours of 8.00am to 2.00pm on 25 January 2022 and 27 January 2022.
6. Street vendors:
(1) The selling of goods by street vendors is prohibited.
(2) Children under the age of 16 years selling goods in public is strictly prohibited.
7. Selling of alcohol
The selling of alcohol by any shop (whether supermarket or small shop) and in hotels is prohibited.
All schools and tertiary education institutions are to close until further notice.
9. Access to Health Facilities:
All persons are prohibited from accessing any health facility unless it is an emergency, or he or she is seeking urgent medical attention or assistance at any health facility.
10. Restriction for Government services:
All government services are suspended except for essential and emergency services.
11. Ministry of Health duties:
The Ministry of Health shall ensure to implement awareness programme and measures for the prevention of the spread of the Covid-19.
12. Samoa Police Service:
(1) The Samoa Police Service shall enforce this Order.
(2) The Samoa Police Service is authorized to define zones to restrict public movement for the permitted times as defined under Order 5.
13. Special Powers of Government Chief Executive Officers:
(1) 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 Corona Virus Pandemic (“Response Matrix”).
(2) Cabinet is empowered to make Regulations, Rules or Orders for the implementation of the public sector duties and responsibilities, for public health safety and the maintenance of peace and order.
14. Emergency Order Offence Notice:
(1) A police officer may serve an Emergency Order Offence Notice on a person who has committed an offence to which this Emergency applies.
(2) A Notice under this Order shall be in the form approved by the Commissioner of Police.
(3) A person who has been served with a Notice must pay the fine stated in the Notice within 24 hours of the issuance of the Notice.
(1) A person commits an offence where the person does not comply with any of the above orders except for order 1, attracting the following penalties:
(a) a fine of:
(i) for an individual, a fine of $200 for a first offence, and a fine of $500 for a continuous offence; or
(ii) for an organization or corporation or similar such legal entity, a fine of $5,000 for a first offence, and a fine of $7,000 for a continuous offence; or
b) detainment by the Police not exceeding 3 months; or
(c) both detainment and fines prescribed under paragraph (a).
(2) A person commits an offence where the person does not comply with order 1 attracting the following penalties:
(a) for an individual, a fine of $2000;
(b) for an organization or company, a fine of $15,000 for a first offence, and a fine of $20,000 for a continuous offence.
(3)A person commits an offence, where the person does not comply with quarantine requirements issued by the Director General of the Ministry of Health attracting a penalty of $2,000.00.
(4) The payment of a fine under this Order, shall avoid any further prosecution for the offence stipulated in the Notice issued under Order 14.
(5) Where a person is convicted of an offence under these Orders, he or she shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both.
(6) Any business that breaches Order 5 under these Orders will have their business license revoked for the duration of the State of Emergency, in addition to penalties already provided under the relevant legislation regarding business licenses.
16. Advisory Board — Article 108:
The Advisory Board appointed under Article 108 of the Constitution, shall not incur any liability for actions done in good faith under Article 108.
17. Flexibility of procedures:
(1) Given the pandemic Covidl9, procedures of Cabinet and Parliament, may be relaxed during the State of Emergency, so that decision making for the good of the country may continue.
(2) For effective decision making for the country, the above Orders do not bar any urgent and essential meetings of Cabinet and Parliament to take place during the State of Emergency.
The financing of the implementation of this Order shall be funded by the appropriate budget approved by the Government.
(1)For the purpose of Order 1, all actions made to implement the
requirements from 21st May 2020 to date, are treated as valid under this Order.
(2) For the purpose of Order 7, all actions made to implement requirements for the selling of alcohol during the Easter period from Pt April 2021 at 10pm to 3′ April 2021 at 6am, are treated as valid under this Order.
(3) The quarantine period determined by the Director General of Health of a period other than 21 days, is considered valid under this Order.
20. National Disaster Management Plan:
These Orders form part of the National Management Plan established under the Disaster and Emergency Management Act 2007.
The Emergency Order 62 issued on 22″d January 2022 is revoked upon the commencement of this Emergency Order 63.
This Emergency Order 63 commences from 6pm on 24th January 2022 to 6pm 27th January 2022.