Repatriation flights facing suspension as S.O.E. extended

The Government is considering suspending repatriation flights from New Zealand to Samoa due to a decrease in demand, says Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi. 

He also confirmed the extension of the state of emergency [S.O.E.] for another month, making it the fifth consecutive month of lockdown for Samoa.

During his weekly programme with commercial television station TV3, Tuilaepa lamented that passengers had booked seats on flights but failed to show up.

"The Cabinet is looking at these repatriation flights and observing that they have not been full. The people who wanted to come did not check-in," he said.

"And it has prompted the Cabinet to review these flights next week and suspend it for a whole month. It is not a good thing for us to give chances to their cries saying they want to return, they process their papers and when it's time they change their minds."

Tuilaepa said a decision would be reached next week regarding the cancellation of these flights.

"Remember that the goal of this Government is the 100 per cent protection of this nation by banning all flights,” he said.

“But it was opened [for repatriation] due to the many requests of those wanting to return.

"And yet, they are showing attitude, the planes are not full."

He said that the Government may follow overseas nations that are now requiring arriving nationals to pay for their own quarantine costs.

"There is a lot of money allocated for this purpose but it seems the people are not taking it seriously," he said.

In addition, Tuilaepa said Samoa will be extending its S.O.E. as there has been no substantial improvements observed in the global pandemic.

The Prime Minister said those who had arrived recently and are undergoing quarantine are doing well. 

"But despite this, we are all in preparation and expecting the worst, because anything can happen, this is why it is very important for the nation to continue praying,” he said. 

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