Shutdown to include private sector, roads

Efforts to complete a mass vaccination across the country have led the Government to extend a state of emergency order to shutdown the Government to include a two-day shut down of the private sector and roads. 

Cabinet Ministers were in Savai’i in the morning for site visit of clinics and met upon arrival at 5pm to form a Cabinet meeting to approve the new amendments.

During the closure period no vehicle will be permitted on the road unless it is a vehicle belonging to an exempt service from the public sector or a vehicle being used to seek medical assistance from a medical facility.

According to the order by Deputy Council Member, Le Mamea Lemalu Su’a Tuiletufuga Leatuavao Ropati Mualia, all private and public offices, services and businesses and operations usually open to the public in Samoa will be closed from 6am to 6pm on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th December, 2019. 

The new measures, while drastic, were deemed necessary for securing the public safety of Samoa after the national death toll reaching 55, according to the Cabinet consensus.

“We have been meeting all week and that indicates how concern we are over the loss of life,” said one Minister who does not wished to be named.

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“Inter-island travel between Upolu and Savai’i [is] prohibited unless travel is for the purpose of seeking medical assistance  from a medical facility or travelling overseas; all members of the public are to remain at their places of residence to await the vaccinations units being mobilized for the M.M.R. vaccinations plan,” says the order. 

Exempt services permitted to operate during the closure period includes hospitals; morgues; fire and emergency services; search and rescue services; Police services; security services; shipping services; civil aviation services; Samoa Water Authority services and Electric Power Corporation Services, the National Emergency Operation Centre and petrol stations. 

For the private sector services, exempted are hotel and hospitality services; communication services and morgues.  

On Monday, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi announced the Government shut down this Thursday and Friday. 

Government workers will be enlisted to help carry out the nation's mass vaccination campaign.

Tuilaepa emphasised the importance of parents seeking care from medical professionals when their children displayed symptoms.

"Vaccinations is the only cure; if affected cases are presented early for treatment full recovery should be expected, and thirdly no traditional healers and kengen water preparations can cure measles."

Tuilaepa said that immunisation will become mandatory under the law for all ages. The Government had earlier announced previous age restrictions on vaccines would be lifted and they would now be available to anyone under 60. 

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