Nadi eight turned back again on Sunday
The eight Samoans denied entry back into the country and returned to Fiji for coronavirus quarantine were turned back again on Sunday - this time due to bad weather.
Initially ecstatic to finally return home after 14 days of quarantine, the group was told they could not land as Cyclone Wasi was unraveling over Samoa at the time.
The group’s new itinerary has them arriving in Samoa on Monday afternoon from Nadi.
Families of the group, who have now been to the airport twice only to return home without them, are hoping that three is indeed a charm.
One of the caregivers told the Samoa Observer that their plane circled over Samoa for about 30 minutes to await a clearance to land on Sunday.
When the rough weather didn’t give in, the Fiji Airways flight had no choice but to turn back.
The caregivers have been providing updates of their travails in Fiji on social media for their families and friends.
On what they thought was last their last day in Fiji, Eteuini Nafo’I posted a social media update thanking Dr. Yogendra Sharma, an Apollo Hospitals executive and his team, Dr. Sanson Fousaga and Rohit Mishra, for making their stay memorable after they were cleared of the virus.
She also thanked the Grand Melanesian Hotel manager for the “warm welcome and making us feel like home.”
Her three-year-old son, Lafi Zachariah Nafoi, had reportedly traveled to India for treatment of a rare disease affecting his internal organs.
Lafi is the youngest of the five sick Samoans who traveled with three caregivers for medical treatment under the Government’s Overseas Treatment Scheme.
The group transited through Singapore on their way back home, requiring them to be denied entry and quarantined following that country's addition to an immigration blacklist.
However, instead of being quarantined in Samoa they were deported along with others who weren't Samoan citizens, including those from Nigeria and the Philippines earlier this month.
The deportation is Ministry of Health policy for protection against the novel coronavirus.
Any traveler who has been through a country with proven sustained transmission of the virus must self-quarantine in a country with no such transmission and be cleared by a medical professional three days before travelling back to Samoa.
The list of those countries is under daily review. As of February 24, they are: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.