Repatriation flight uncertain

The Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C), Ulu Bismarck Crawley, said the repatriation flight this Friday may be postponed due to a lack of time to clean space for quarantined passengers.

Ulu said a decision on the flight has been discussed by the quarantine board and concern for a lack of required time for Health workers to sterilise quarantine areas.

“We realised that if the flight is to continue its arrival on this coming Friday, it’s also the same day [that the] the currently quarantined passengers to finish their 14 days [of quarantine],” he said.

“We’ve looked at how the Ministry of Health will need the time to clear and disinfect and clear these sectors for [the incoming passengers ...yet to come].

“The workers should have enough time to properly clean what was used for quarantine for the others on the way to quarantine.

“We can’t make all these [quarantined passengers dismissal and new quarantine comers] happen in just one day. We need time to clean.”

From the board discussions, Ulu said the flight might be pushed back three days more.

Changes to the quarantine process are possible to be made when needed, Ulu added.

If this Friday’s flight rescheduling occurs, it is possible that all other repatriation flights scheduled could be postponed as a consequence.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson last month confirmed that Auckland-Apia repatriation flights for Samoans in New Zealand would be arriving on a fortnightly basis.

The airline began operating the repatriation flights on 29  May.

The number of passengers for each repatriation flights will be limited to allow appropriate social distancing and well-managed quarantine in Samoa according to the spokesperson.

Fifteen quarantined sectors are currently monitoring 10 passengers each from a repatriation flight that flew over 100 incoming passengers from Auckland two weeks ago.

According to the N.E.O.C Chair, about 70 health workers are working within the quarantine process.

He acknowledged their work and urged the public for support.


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