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Passengers enter self-quarantine

Leaders of the national coronavirus containment strategy are keeping mum on the self-isolation arrangements afforded to passengers who arrived from Auckland last Friday. 

Health Emergency Operation Centre (H.E.O.C.), Leausa Dr. Take Naseri and National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.), Ulu Bismarck Crawley, are declining to answer questions about how it was decided to allow passengers who flew in from Auckland to enter into self-isolation. 

In March more than 100 incoming passengers were placed in quarantine at St. Therese Samoa Retreat and Accommodation.

For last Friday's Air New Zealand flight, only four passengers flew into the country. But only one, the Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese, is in quarantine at the Orator Hotel. 

The other passengers have apparently been allowed to undergo self-isolation in their own homes. 

The A.N.Z. Bank Country Head, Bernie Poort and his wife, are at an A.N.Z. residence where a security guard and a daily health check from the Ministry is being provided, Mr. Poort said on Monday. 

Mr. Poort, who is also the Samoa Bankers' Association Chairman said they personally conveyed to the Government their preference to stay in the A.N.Z. residence as he preferred to continue working over the following fortnight.

The residence property also underwent an inspection by the Ministry to ensure that the couple would enter isolation on arrival, said Mr. Poort.

It is unclear where the other passenger, Air New Zealand's Country Manager, Karen Gatt, is being quarantined. Emailed questions were not answered by press time. 

But the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, during his 2AP programme last Saturday, confirmed that the passengers would be self-isolating. 

"The Friday flight was able to squeeze in about three or four, there were palagi on the flight. And they are being quarantined within their own homes because no one will visit them," he said.

"It will only be the palagi and the spouse. It's easy to monitor them. In case some may complain and ask why they have been quarantined separately, that is why, from the very beginning, this is how it was done.

"There are those who are easily trusted that they will keep to the isolation requirement of the Government. But the rest, especially our own people, it is hard to try to keep them in their homes, so we take them to the hotels."

Tuilaepa also suggested that it may be time for passengers who will be quarantined at hotels to pay a share of cost associated with their stay, as currently it is being covered by the Government. 

The Auckland-Apia flight had been intended to be a fully booked passenger flight, before the Government decided to postpone the flight earlier this week, due to concerns that requirements that all passengers undergo coronavirus screening were not yet in place. 

More than 1000 Samoans overseas will be flying into the country on a fortnightly basis, starting this Friday, May 29.

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