N.E.O.C Chair reveals criteria for incoming passengers
The Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C), Ulu Bismark Crawley, has outlined the criteria to be met by passengers on incoming flights to Samoa.
Last week Friday, an Air New Zealand flight which touched down on Samoan soil and brought just four passengers: the Chief Justice, His Honour Satiu Simativa Perese, the ANZ Bank’s Country Manager, Bernie Poort and his wife, Suzie, and Air NZ's Country Manager for Samoa, Karen Gatt.
The first fully packed passenger flight is due to arrive this Friday.
Flights are expected to arrive on a fortnightly basis, with returnees chosen according to criteria, Ulu said.
“They register before using the criteria to select who comes [to Samoa],” Ulu said.
“They have to follow the criteria; they can’t just put anyone on the flight and one of the criteria for example [is people’s connection to] families.
“These are return residents who already have their return tickets. Those that were supposed to come while for those who just bought their tickets for faalavelave (family business), no.
“We’re busy repatriating those who came to Samoa.”
Another criteria which allows people to enter the country on the Auckland-Apia route involves Samoan residents who travelled overseas for treatment under the Government’s treatment scheme.
Older people, infants and children six and upwards will be prioritised.
“We can’t bring them all together at one time. It’s a bit of a selection,” Ulu added.
The incoming flights are being arranged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T) and the Ministry of Health (M.O.H) according to Ulu.
“After the selection of returning passengers through these criteria, the Government hands [over] to Air New Zealand,” he said.
“Air New Zealand does not have the right to select who’s coming and who is not. These are the criteria they use to arrange for these things.”
Questions on the quarantine processes for the four passengers from last week were referred to the Health Ministry.
“These are the things managed by the Health and Foreign Affairs (M.F.A.T) because the only thing I know for the incoming flight this Friday, I think they’re looking at something like 15 locations and 10 people for each site so that they can be easily monitored,” he said.
“But the Ministry of Health is solely responsible for isolation processes.”
Ulu is also the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E)