P.M. stands by decision to close border to Australia

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi is standing by Samoa's decision to keep her borders tightly shut to Australia, despite many Samoans stranded there wanting to come home.

Among them is Matoka Otele, of Magiagi, who said he finished his contract in June and he is desperate to come home.

“At first, I was glad I got to stay here for a longer time when my contract ended," he said. 

"But I realized that I missed home because it’s not safe to explore around here like how I thought I would do during my stranded term here."

According to Mr. Otele, there are also other men like him who have ended their contracts and are just staying in quarantine at their campus.

Speaking during his Radio 2AP programme, the Prime Minister said Samoa's focus is to keep the virus at bay, to save lives. That means men like Mr. Otele are in for a very long wait.

“The spread of the Covid-19 in Australia is too risky as we have witnessed on television,” he said.

In addressing Samoans stuck in Australia, Tuilaepa said it's a tough decision he hopes they will understand.

“(We’re afraid) you might bring a virus into the country and (will) kill our people," he said.

“It’s better if you all stay there until everything is safe then you can come home. It's not that we’re neglecting you.

“In fact, it’s through consideration (towards stranded Samoans in Australia) why you’re all there. Considering the lives of your families here in Samoa.”

Many Samoans stranded in Australia have taken to social media to express their concerns about wanting to come home.

But the rising number of covid deaths and new cases in that country will not help their cause.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa also explained that Samoa is only opening it’s borders to New Zealand because they have been successful in dealing with their Covid-19 cases.

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