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Samoan seasonal workers recovering

Several Samoan seasonal workers in Hawkes Bay New Zealand affected by a “common flu” last month are recovering and receiving treatment. 

According to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, those affected include eight Samoans who are being isolated until they fully recover. 

There are 35 seasonal workers working for the Thornhill Horticultural Contracting in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand including 21 who are Samoans, he said. 

 “A report I have just received shows that the seasonal workers are recovering,” Lautafi said in a recent interview.

“There were two hospitalised (one Samoan and one Tongan) and eight of them (Samoans) have been isolated until they pass the flu. They are recovering."

The Minister made it clear the workers were affected by a rhinovirus which is the common flu and not the swine flu.

He assured the workers have insurance which covers their medical treatment and wages. The men are sheltered in a hotel accommodation that has a heaters and air condition when it is hot, he added.

Lautafi explained it appeared that it began with one worker who had the cough and is suspected to have infected the others. 

“They are not blaming Samoa as the source of where they got the flu,” he said. 

“The workers live together so one must’ve been couching and knowing they live together in a hotel and work together it is suspected it could have spread and affected others. 

“Also these workers most of them had just left for New Zealand last month and it could have also been caused by the change in weather...they are being looked after and treated.”

According to an article by Stuff New Zealand, more than 70 workers were out of action with 31 seasonal workers at Thornhill affected with two getting hospitalized with confirmed influenza.  

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