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N.E.O.C. Chair condemns reports of quarantine breach

The National Emergency Operations Centre Chairman, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, has rubbished reports of COVID-19 exposure during a brawl at a quarantine site and when a man snuck out of a guarded facility.

The N.E.O.C. Chairman told the Samoa Observer in an interview that there is no need to worry as the guard who was reported to have been in physical contact with the seasonal workers involved in the brawl was never part of the melee.

“The seasonal workers sorted things out themselves and the guard was not involved due to the reports I received,” he said. “The brief report is that they sorted it out themselves to avoid the exposure of securities [guards].”

It is understood that all finalised reports on the matter have been delivered to the N.E.O.C. Chairman as part of their data collection on the quarantine processes.

When asked if the N.E.O.C. is aware of anyone in physical contact with the passenger who sneaked out of the quarantine facility, Ulu said ‘no’.

The Ministry of Health [M.O.H.] Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, told the Health of the Nation program last week that once a person is in contact with passengers in quarantine, it is a must they also undergo mandatory 14-days quarantine.

Leausa said a number of issues were brought to his attention including attempts by quarantined passengers to interact with their relatives. 

“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],” he said.

"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 learnt about this seven days after it happens.”

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

Leausa urged the family members of passengers returning from New Zealand to work with the authorities to protect Samoa against the pandemic.

According to Ulu, only one breach of state of emergency [S.O.E] orders has been brought to the attention of his office.

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