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Health chief pleas to stop quarantine breaches

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has pleaded with family members of passengers returning from New Zealand to work with the authorities to protect Samoa against the coronavirus pandemic.

Leausa issued the plea during the Health of the Nation TV programme where he revealed some alarming breaches of quarantine procedures by passengers who are required to stay in isolation for 14 days.

According to Leausa, reports of some passengers doing all sorts of crazy things to interact with their relatives have been brought to their attention.

“There are those people who do not value (the purpose of quarantine) as they either try to go outside or contact their relatives to fetch some things from them (while they are in quarantine,” Leausa said.

The Director General said this directly places the heath of the nation at risk because no one should be exposed to any passenger, or anything they might have touched, unless they clear the 14-day period.

"If your child fetches something from you who is being isolated for the virus, and you already sneezed on that particular package, then obviously the virus could be spread and (we) only learn about this seven days after it happens," he said.

"That’s the biggest worry at the moment and this is happening quite often with all the repatriation flights. Some relatives (sneakily) stand outside the gates and the people being isolated throw them stuff to take home with them."

Leausa cautioned that if people are caught, the authorities have the right to take them into quarantine as well because of the exposure.

But he called on everyone to work together.

“Some people arrive with  this show off attitude which knows no barriers," he said, adding that they are reckless. 

This week, a male passenger quarantined at Talanoa Fale’s Accommodation at Moamoa escaped from the quarantine site on Wednesday night, with the Police called to find him. He was later found and transferred to the Faleolo Medical Centre.

A Security official from Top Security at the accomodation told the Samoa Observer that the man used the bad weather to escape from the accomodation.

“He came and slipped through the trees and the fence when it was raining very heavily while the security guards were doing there rounds at the back checking out the area," the Security official who did not want to be identified said.

Over the weekend last week, a brawl last Friday evening between passengers in a quarantine facility hours after they arrived back in the country is under investigation by the Police with alcohol being a contributing factor to the fight.

The altercation was understood to be the second episode of physical violence in a quarantine facility involving repatriated Recognised Seasonal Employers (R.S.E.) to have arrived from Auckland last Friday night.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating both incidents.

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