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Samoans in Japan safe from COVID-19

Two Samoans who won rugby scholarships to Japan are safe as global concerns grow about the coronavirus pandemic.

Timo Fiti Sufia, of Letui, and Vailoa and Iosua Sousou, from Sa'asa'ai Savai’i, told the Samoa Observer that they are safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) as they are not living close to Tokyo, which is currently the epicentre of virus in Japan.

"Right now, we are both safe, we are far away from where the coronavirus is currently spreading. There are just the two of us here so yes we are safe," said Mr. Sufia.

This year marks their fourth year in Japan as recipients of scholarships offered by the Rugby Academy of Samoa in 2016.

However, as it is the last year of their scholarship, they are unsure whether they will return home or be asked to join rugby clubs in Japan.

The two Samoan rugby players currently live in Gifu which is a city in central Japan and is about five hours drive by car to Tokyo.

However, Mr. Sufia said they should not be complacent and stay indoors during the global pandemic.

"Even though we are far away from Tokyo, because that's where most of the cases here in Japan are at, we are still worried because we never know. We are staying indoors, we only go out when it's an emergency or to buy our supplies but we are staying inside our rooms all the time," he added.

And while they are indoors to seek protection from the virus, Mr. Sufia said they keep in contact with their families, who continue to update informed through their social media posts. 

Mr. Sufia said it is difficult being away from family during the global pandemic, and they are already homesick.

"We are still talking to our families back home, and we want to let them know that we are safe and coronavirus free. We just need them to continue on praying because we understand that is the only thing keeping me and my mate safe. We send our love to our families and also our village," he added.

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