U.S., U.K. citizens seeking way home

The United States of America is looking to help its citizens in Samoa get home next week with a chartered flight out of Faleolo International Airport.

In a public notice on social media, the U.S. Embassy in Samoa has advertised that citizens wanting to leave are able to tentatively book a seat onto a flight for around US$757 (T$2,101). 

For now this flight is not confirmed as going ahead but is scheduled for or near Monday 6 April. Citizens are invited to email the Consulate to book a seat.

Meanwhile, around 20 British nationals are hoping to leave Samoa and get home but cannot with local and international border closures blocking their way, the British High Commissioner David Ward confirmed on Tuesday. 

After 51 Australians and 35 Japanese citizens were helped out of Samoa on Monday morning on a specially organized charter flight, and earlier this month volunteers from several countries were repatriated, people across Samoa are desperately looking to leave the islands.

Mr. Ward said while some British and European Union visitors to Samoa were able to leave before the border closures while commercial flights were available, an undisclosed number of people (“less than twenty”) have sought help from their representatives on the ground.

On Monday, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a £75 million plan to get charter flights around the world and get British nationals home from countries with no available commercial flights.

“Provision of these flights will be prioritised according to the number of stranded British nationals and their vulnerability,” Mr. Ward explained.

There are no current plans to bring such a flight to Samoa.

“We estimate there are between 800,000 and 1.1 million British travellers overseas at present, so the number stranded in Samoa is low when set against that perspective.

“Those who have contacted me are almost exclusively travellers and short term visitors,” said Mr. Ward.

“The British Government is not encouraging British citizens who are customarily resident overseas (of which there are several million more, including probably one million in Australia alone) to return to the United Kingdom.”

 In the meantime, he urged travellers in Samoa to follow the Government of Samoa’s advice, which is responsible for their safety and security whilst they are here.

The Government of the United Kingdom advises overseas citizens to follow the advice of local authorities, including local measures to help minimise their risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19), find accommodation that’s suitable for their needs, keep up-to-date with our travel advice and the latest information from transport providers and local authorities on their departure options and keep in regular contact with family and friends at home.

The U.S. Embassy has been contacted for comment. 

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