Charter flight to return students in Fiji

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 10 January 2021, 10:00AM

A chartered flight will bring home Samoan scholarship students who have been studying in Fiji and completed their studies.

The return leg of the flight will transport students who are currently meant to be studying in the country but have not yet completed their courses. 

The flight, scheduled to depart from Fiji on 13 February 2021, will bring back Samoan students who have completed their programs at the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Laucala Campus.

Samoan students who have also completed their study programmes at the Pacific Theological College, as well as missionaries, will also be brought home on the same flight.

It could not be confirmed how many returning students will fly back to Fiji or what number will be resuming their studies. 

But earlier this week the Government Press Secretariat confirmed the schedule of several repatriation flights in the coming weeks, to bring back citizens currently stranded overseas.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) has confirmed that the backlog of Samoans wanting to return home has hit 2,000 and is of the view that their numbers will increase in the next few weeks.

The number is expected to grow to as much as 2,500 people, the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) Interim Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo, told the Samoa Observer earlier this week. 

The Tongan government has also given approval for repatriation flights to return their citizens to the island kingdom on 14 January 2021.

The Matangi Tonga news service reported that there are 21 Tongans who will be returning home from Samoa, and a separate repatriation flight will pick up 259 Tongan citizens, who are currently stranded in New Zealand. 

Under new rules for incoming passengers to Samoa, all travelers will be required to produced a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours before departing from their last portal; a medical clearance from a doctor which includes a blood test for the virus’ antibodies conducted within five days of boarding. 

The results of the tests have to be sent directly to the Ministry of Health not presented to airport staff, as had been the previous procedure.

Any person with a historical, or past, case of COVID-19 wants to enter Samoa, they must not have contracted the virus at least six months before they travel.

Passengers are also expected to spend 21 days in managed quarantine isolation.



By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 10 January 2021, 10:00AM

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