Deported Samoans return home Sunday

The eight Samoans who were controversially deported upon arrival home for coronavirus quarantine reasons will be returning home on Sunday, after 14 days in Fiji.

The group of eight have been identified as: Sene Tausaga Leutogi, Funefeai Vaifale, Viliamu Naniseni Unasa Obrien, Sela Tausaga Leutogi, Etuini Nafoi, Lafi Zahcariah Willy, Talasamoa Taavao and Anesiata Taavao.

The youngest of the group is a three-year-old, the Samoa Observer was told.

The Samoan citizens were refused entry at the Faleolo International Airport and sent back to Fiji after it was discovered they had transited home through Singapore, a country which had just been added to a Government quarantine blacklist. 

The traveling party included five patients returning from a trip to India for hospital treatment and three of their caregivers.

They have been cleared of the virus and will be leaving Nadi, Fiji on Sunday and will arrive home later the same afternoon, one of the group confirmed. 

Their departure comes a week after their phones and money were returned by officials overseeing their quarantine. 

In a phone call to Ministry of Health officials, the group revealed that Fijian officials had confiscated their phones and wallets upon their arrival in Nadi.

A day after the Samoa Observer revealed the confiscation, the group had their belongings were returned.

The deported group has been residing at the Grand Melanesian Hotel in Nadi with other deportees; they said they had been receiving good food and service.  

The Government of Samoa said it was seeking answers from the Government of Fiji about why the citizens had their belongings confiscated.

Since last week, the deportees had been allowed to leave their hotel rooms for shopping while the doctors and nurses come around to conduct their health screenings everyday. 

On Saturday, the group took a tour around Nadi as they prepare to come back home to families.

Under new measures, Samoans and non-Samoans alike will be refused entry without a two-week period of quarantine in a country without coronavirus cases and a medical certification.  

Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Macau are on the list of countries from which travelers are prevented from arriving without 14 days self-quarantine in a country without the virus first.  

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