Govt. extends S.O.E. until 26 October 2020

The Government-declared coronavirus pandemic State of Emergency (S.O.E.) has been extended until 26 October 2020.

The decision was made by Cabinet and announced on Saturday, making it the seventh consecutive month for Samoa's (S.O.E.) and the lockdown.

While the world continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed 993,542 lives from nearly 33million cases, Samoa remains one of a few countries in the world without the virus.

It is one of the reasons the Government is continuing to extend the S.OE.

."The Head of State, le Ao Mamalu o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Va’aletoa Su’alauvi II after consultation with Cabinet authorized the State of Emergency orders to be extended from September 28th 2020 to October 26th 2020," a Government release said.

The President of the Samoa Hotels Association, Tupa’i Saleimoa Vaai, said the Government's decision is understandable especially since they have a duty to protect lives.

But he is appealing for common sense and understanding to relax some of the business and trading restrictions to help the struggling industry.

He said the Government needs to open up the domestic market to allow locals to stimulate the economy. This they can do by utilizing the properties that are now vacant and being offered at very cheap prices.

“We do support whatever measures that the Government would see fit to put in place to ensure our safety and that effort should primarily focus on our border controls and our preparations in terms of health in case the epidemic comes through our borders,” he said.

Samoa entered lockdown on 21 March 2020 with the declaration of a S.O.E., a day after the country announced it is investigating its first suspected coronavirus case – a patient with flu-like symptoms who had just arrived at that time from New Zealand. 

Under powers granted under the S.O.E. orders, the Government also had shut schools though they reopened, and banned gatherings of more than five people. 

At first, public gatherings of all shapes and sizes on any day of the week were cancelled, in a clear public health driven attempt to quash any spread of disease should it get onto Samoan shores unnoticed. 

The earliest signs of a Government-led effort to end work on Sundays was the S.O.E. order amendment released April 15: that the inter-island ferries, buses and markets would resume operations on the condition they would not operate on Sunday. 

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