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New emergency orders ban swimming

People will be banned from swimming at the beach or rivers or visiting cake shops on Sundays under new amendments to the state of emergency orders announced on Friday. 

The Prime Minister, Tuialepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, said the additional mandatory orders were a necessary measure to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. 

Other changes to the state of emergency orders include a prohibition from granting fishing boats access to local ports starting from 26 April. 

Restaurants including the typically 24-hours-a-day McDonald’s have had their hours restricted to operate from 6 am in the morning to 9 pm at night. 

Tuilaepa said the amended orders were finalised after a Cabinet meeting late on Friday evening and based on advice from the Ministry of Health and the National Operations Centre. 

“We have to be alert in case someone dies from the deadly virus,” the Prime Minister told the national 2AP programme. 

“Swimming at the beach is forbidden in other countries [affected by COVID-19] and we should do so too. 

“Stop going out for a swim; we should be cautious and be prepared mentally.” 

In addition to the ban on late operating hours for restaurants, the Prime Minister clarified a previously announced order prohibiting supermarkets operating on Sundays outside the hours of 3pm to 6pm would not apply to small shops in villages. 

“Those shops only get one customer from time to time,” he said. 

Tuilaepa said that the shops are for those who need small things that have run out at home such as soap, onions and sugar. 

The Prime Minister also urged people to stay home and observe church services from the comfort of their homes in front of the TV screen. 

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