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S.O.E. cancels Parliament's pre-sitting session

Parliament's pre-sitting seminar scheduled for Monday has been cancelled due to the enforcement of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders.

The announcement was signed by the Clerk of Parliament, Tiatia Lima Tualaulelei, ahead of Parliament's emergency meeting on Tuesday where a stimulus package is expected to be announced and passed.

The pre-Parliament sittings which are held on the eve of every parliamentary sitting gives Members of Parliament an opportunity to raise questions and ask for clarifications on bills being proposed. 

The notice also requested that on the day of a parliamentary sitting, Government Ministries, agencies and partners are advised to have only one representative present during the proceedings for everyone's safety.

The media has also been reserved a "designated area" that they will be able to get for the duration of the proceedings of Parliament on the day.

The notice did not specifically mention where the reserved area would be, but it is understood that it will not be inside the Parliamentary chamber.

The extension of the S.O.E. was announced on Friday afternoon by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, who said four more weeks will be added to the two-week lockdown.

That means that the country's international borders will remain closed, the Cabinet determined on Friday.  

Tuilaepa said only the extension of the S.O.E. for another month could guarantee that the country will be free from the coronavirus. 

“It is only when we don’t have any incoming flights for the next four weeks that we can assure that we are free from the virus,” said the Prime Minister. 

“Even for those citizens from America or Japan who intend to return to their respective countries they [flight attendance] will be forbidden to get off the plane."

The Prime Minister said prevention was better than cure. 

And he added the orders would be revised and the possibility of amending certain restrictions would be made known as soon as next week including extended grocery shopping hours. 

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