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Incoming flights slashed over virus fears

Flights to Samoa will be reduced significantly as the Government clamps down on international arrivals and raises the alert level over the coronavirus after it reached New Zealand's shores on Friday. 

The changes will take effect on Monday, March 2. 

The detection of the virus in Auckland was announced by local authorities late on Friday local time. 

The close proximity of New Zealand to Samoa and the high degree of international travel back and forth between the two nations has prompted the Government to elevate the risk of the coronavirus from entering New Zealand from ‘high’ to ‘very high’. 

"Its impact on Samoa’s population remains catastrophic," a Government special health advisory issued February 29 reads.

The new requirements affect the five airlines that fly to Samoa including, Samoa Airways, Talofa Airways, Air New Zealand, Fiji airways and Virgin Australia.

Flights between New Zealand and Samoa have been cut in half for Air New Zealand and Samoa Airways.

"Airlines are advised to make appropriate changes for flights into Samoa. Airlines will be advised within seven days for any new changes,” the advisory reads. 

Travelers from New Zealand are now required to undergo a medical examination by a registered medical practitioner and provide a medical clearance, which is valid within three days of arrival.

"All travelers entering Samoa from or transiting through all ports (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Am. Samoa, Hawaii and Tonga) are required to undergo a medical examination by a Registered Medical Practitioner within [three] days before arrival," the statement reads.

"This medical clearance report is required for check-in prior to [the] issuing of boarding passes.

"All other conditions as per Health Travel Advice issued Friday 28 th February 2020 remain the same for all travelers."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the country’s first case on Friday afternoon.

Ms. Ardern said the person was in their 60s and had previously tested negative for the virus twice. They had recently travelled from Iran via Bali.

The changed flight requirements are as follows:

Samoa Airways flights from:

Australia remains as three flights per week (two from Sydney and one from Brisbane).

New Zealand flight reduce from five flights to three flights per week

Tafuna and American Samoa reduce to four flights per day.


Talofa Airways flights from:

Tonga remains at one flight per week

Tafuna and American Samoa reduce to four flights per day


Air New Zealand Flights from;

New Zealand reduce from six flights to three flights per week

 

Fiji Airways Flights from;

Fiji reduce from five flights to two flights per week

Honolulu remains as one flight weekly

 

Virgin Australia Flights from;

Australia remain as two flights per week (one from Sydney and one from Brisbane)


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