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Staying focused during the S.O.E. for family

It is the second week of the coronavirus (COVID-19) state of emergency with the country’s entire population in lockdown.

Restricted business trading hours and revised working conditions for Government employees has meant more people staying at home, and for good reason too, as the authorities work to mitigate the COVID-19 threat.

But challenges have already emerged in recent days in the Government’s bid to ensure all passengers are quarantined – as revealed in the March 29, 2020 edition of the Sunday Samoan – when one passenger went home instead.

It is in the nation’s interest that the relevant agencies get their act together to avoid further “confusion” in the implementation of the Ministry of Health’s quarantine policy, and to consider each case on its merit to ensure a passenger is not put at risk while he or she is put through the mandatory 14-day self isolation process.

The concerns expressed by the Salvation Army’s Lieutenant Rod Carey – for people at home with a lot of time on their hands – not to take alcohol as a way around the lockdown is also a valid point and one that needs repeating

“Many people are now in lockdown at home and being in closed confinement with family and children. [I hope they] don’t resort to drinking because they have plenty of time on their hands,” he said. 

“Be wise and sensible about the confined isolation, [and don’t] resort to taking to alcohol as a way out. People need to be abiding by both the state of emergency orders but also make wise decisions about their own lifestyle choices.”

A day after the warning against alcohol consumption was sounded by the Salvation Army Lieutenant, a taxi crash on Sunday afternoon at the Maagiagi cemetery has left the driver fighting for his life at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital (T.T.M.). 

The taxi service owner, Nio Siaki, said his driver was intoxicated before he crashed the vehicle.

The unregulated consumption of alcohol during a government-sanctioned lockdown, such as a nationwide S.O.E., can become problematic for law enforcement agencies and its officers if not addressed.  

The loss of employment during this global pandemic can also lead to increasing tension at home, as parents grapple with the realities of no income to put food on the table, and thus become vulnerable to domestic violence.

Mr Carey warned of the vulnerability that families now find themselves in due to the lockdown, but he also spoke of the benefit of spending more time with loved ones in these difficult times.

“There are positives in being in lockdown mode so people can spend quality time with family and take up projects, have good time with their children, there is just the potential for arguments and fighting and it could result in violence,” he said. 

But there is no reason to resort to violence, when the real enemy of our families, the community and nation in COVID-19 is out there, and has already taken thousands of lives from nations around the world.

In the March 29, 2020 edition of the Samoa Observer last Friday, Reverend Esekia Alopule Semisi of the Church of Nazareth at Vaitele-Fou, appealed to fathers to take the lead in prayer and services at home during the S.O.E.

“Fathers are the leaders of families. I know that in our era, many fathers aren’t leading their families in prayer. Many families now have the mothers lead them in prayer so this is the time that fathers should step up and lead their families through these difficult times, especially the matai of each family,” he said.

Families have to stay focused and adhere to the S.O.E. orders – if we are to help the M.O.H. and the Government address the risks associated with COVID-19 – and fathers as heads of their families are expected to play a critical role.

Currently, there is no end in sight with the global pandemic, with New Zealand recording its first death from the virus, and global infections eclipsing 662,073 and deaths standing at over 30,780 at 4pm Sunday (local time).

But it is important that we continue to promote the S.O.E. orders including knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as washing our hands, avoiding large gatherings and not sneezing into your hands or elbow.

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