Hotels used for COVID-19 quarantine

Four hotels in Upolu have been closed to members of the public, to allow the last incoming travellers before Samoa's border shutdown to be quarantined, as part of the Government's coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic prevention.

As of Thursday morning, the Orator Hotel at Tanumapua, Traditional Resort in Ululoloa and Moanalisa Hotel in Vaitele were temporarily closed to the public to isolate returning Samoan residents from New Zealand and Fiji.

St. Therese Resort in Leauvaa was the first to close its doors to guests earlier this week in order to take on passengers from Auckland, who have now been divided into groups and sent to the other hotels.

In a telephone interview with the Samoa Observer, Owner of Orator Hotel, Leitaualesa Jerry Brunt, confirmed that in supporting efforts from Government, the hotel has agreed to utilise its facilities for quarantine purposes. 

He said there are no in house guests at their premises and the decision to isolate the passengers at the hotel for two weeks was not taken lightly. 

“As of yesterday [Wednesday] we were in discussions [with Government officials] and it wasn’t an easy decision because we too have families and kids to think about,” said Leiataualesa. 

“In the end we came up with a solution that whoever from the staff that are willing to stay in the hotel for that period will have to remain here for that long. 

“We too will be doing our own self isolation as precautionary measures limiting our movements so that we don’t risk spreading it.” 

The owner of Orator pointed out there are more than 30 travellers being isolated in the accommodation; majority of them are returning residents from New Zealand and some from Fiji. 

In terms of the staff that will be at the hotel during the 14 days period, Leiataualesa said they have been briefed and trained. 

“Designated staff who will be delivering food or attend to what is needed have been trained and are well equipped with the appropriate attires, gloves and sanitisers everywhere for that purpose,” he explained. 

“All relatives that want to visit the travelers will not be allowed on the premises and we have securities outside for that. 

“We are working together with the Ministry of Health and N.E.O.C. [National Emergency Operation Centre] who will be coming to collect the waste and disposable plates and cutleries used by the passengers.”

Leiataualesa said the hotel has also imposed restricted areas for the passengers to access and have allocates space and areas they can use for exercise. 

In addition, he confirmed that with hoteliers facing dilemma of zero occupancies, there will be some payment for the arrangements to assist the hotel in paying its staffs. 

The Traditional Resort has also taken on board some more than 20 travelers from the Fiji and New Zealand group of travelers. 

A staff member, who was no authorised to speak to the media, said there were about 25 guests from the flights that are being housed in the hotel.

Asked to speak to the manager of the resort, Su’a Tanielu Faiaoga, the staff said it was not possible as he was one of the passengers being quarantined at the hotel. 

“We cannot make any contact with him he is one of the 25 people being brought in this morning to be quarantined here at the hotel,” she said.

“But I can confirm that we are closed to the public and we did not have any in-house guests.”

It was not possible to get a comment from the Manager of Moanalisa Hotel, but a staff member confirmed the hotel has been closed due to travelers being quarantined there.  

Questions in relation to new accommodation arrangements for the quarantined travelers were sent to the Chairman of the N.E.O.C., Ulu Bismarck Crawley. No response was received by press time. 

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