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Two flights this weekend fill up quarantine sites

The different quarantine sites throughout Samoa welcomed more than 300 new passengers on Friday who touched down at Faleolo International Airport on the latest repatriation flight.

But they will not be the last incoming passengers for this week.

The Samoa Observer understands that more than 60 Samoan passengers are arriving on another flight from Fiji, scheduled to arrive on Saturday. Many of the passengers include students studying at the University of the South Pacific who have been desperate to come home.

For usual preventative measures, the passengers from New Zealand were bundled up in groups and into buses and van vehicles by police officers and health workers at the airport.

They will undergo mandatory 14-days quarantine at over 15 different quarantine sites.

National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) Chairman, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, told the Samoa Observer in previous interviews of the new repatriation flights arrangement and added that the flight this Friday is the last fortnightly passenger flight.

The next repatriation flight is expected to arrive in the next three weeks.

The changes came following the increasing concerns over the spike in COVID-19 cases in New Zealand and Australia which has compelled the Government to direct that repatriation flights from Auckland fly in every three weeks.

“We’re looking at the next flight [this Friday}, it will be three weeks time [before the next one]. We’ve predicted this to the Government [last week] due to the increase in cases of Covid-19 in Australia and New Zealand and that’s a worry for us,” he said.

“So we’re looking at the interval of three weeks and so the flight that’s yet to arrive this Friday on the seventh, the following one after that will possibly arrive on the 28th after three weeks.”

The weekly air freight service remains unchanged, according to the amended state of emergency [S.O.E.] orders released by the Government Monday night.

Initially, the quarantine protocol standards set up by the N.E.O.C was for 15 quarantine sites, which divided arriving passengers into groups of 10 people.

But Ulu said that the passenger arrival numbers have skyrocketed with 10-plus people now being quarantined as a group.

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