New arrivals into quarantine
Two-hundred and seventy-nine more Samoans are finally home.
Months after they became stuck in New Zealand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, happily touched down at the Faleolo International Airport on the latest repatriation flight from New Zealand on Friday afternoon.
They will all undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine at different locations.
The latest arrivals land in Samoa at a time where questions have been asked about whether the Government should continue the flights given the multiple problems with quarantine rules being breached.
At Faleolo, buses and van with Police and Health workers awaited the passengers. They were immediately escorted away.
Among the new arrivals are seasonal workers who have longed to return to their families since the majority of them had completed their contracts.
Twenty-six Kiwis returned home on the same plane and date.
A number of churches have stepped forward and offered their buildings to be used as quarantine sites for returning citizens besides selected hotels and guest houses, according to the chair of the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C), Uklu Bismarck Crawley.
Initially, the quarantine protocol standardised by the N.E.O.C was for 15 quarantine sites, which grouped the passengers into bundles of 10 people each. But Ulu said that the arrival numbers have skyrocketed with 10-plus people now being quarantined as a group.
“I cannot confirm the total of quarantine sites right now because more are coming at the same time while others are being quarantined so we might even look for some more flights,” he said.
In the meantime, the N.E.O.C. has continued to call for caution from members of the public with regards to contact with passengers.
"In response to the Orders of the State of Emergency and in ensuring that Samoa takes the necessary precautionary measures to safeguard Samoa, the general public is hereby advised that access to the following sites are restricted :
- International Port - Faleolo International Airport (Friday 24 July 2020; 12am-12.00midnight)
- All Quarantine Sites (24 July – 7 August 2020 at all times)
Only authorized personnel pre-approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) are permitted to enter the above sites to conduct required services.
The Public is advised that any person who contravenes any of the restrictions in this Notice commits an offense and is liable for a penalty under the Orders of the State of Emergency or the provisions of the Disaster and Emergency Management Act 2007.
Please be reminded that the ‘Quarantine’ process is in place to help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have been exposed to Coronavirus infected areas."