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P.M. Tuilaepa reveals next repatriation flight

A repatriation flight from New Zealand is scheduled to touch down at the Faleolo International Airport next Friday, 11 September 2020.

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi confirmed the repatriation flight while talking on the TV3 program on Wednesday, and added that there will be a special flight from Australia later in the month.

Next Friday’s flight will bring back seasonal workers currently stranded in New Zealand with the service continuing into October, in order to reduce the backlog in citizens waiting to return to the country due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The special flight from Australia will return Samoan students who have completed their studies as well as citizens stranded overseas who need to return home. 

Those who are currently residing in China and Japan and wish to return home have to travel to Australia in order to catch the plane flying to Samoa.

“This might happen by the end of this month so about three to four more weeks,” Tuilaepa said.

The Prime Minister said the incoming passengers will have to undergo mandatory isolation while overseas before travelling to Samoa, and those who fail to adhere to the immigration requirements will be penalised under state of emergency [S.O.E.] orders.

The penalties they could face include refusal to board when flying to Samoa or being subject to a $2,000 fine. 

According to Tuilaepa, the Government through a committee is negotiating with Air New Zealand in relation to the repatriation process and no further details were confirmed.

Every passenger will also need to pay for their own airfares, the Prime Minister added.

All passengers will undergo mandatory 14-days quarantine upon arrival in Samoa, the Prime Minister added.

• This article initially reported that the Prime Minister was speaking on the 2AP program which is incorrect. The interview was done on TV3.

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