Quarantine period, social distancing to increase: P.M.

By Talaia Mika 31 August 2020, 6:00AM

Increasing the mandatory quarantine period for returning citizens from 14 to 21 days and changing the social distancing policy from 2 to 10 metres are on the cards, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi has revealed. 

Speaking during the 2AP program last week, Tuilaepa said Samoa will need to make adjustments to the length of its mandatory quarantine period and social distancing policy due to the heightened risks associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“We should move the [two weeks of quarantine] to three weeks because 14-days is not enough,” he said during the program.

“We’ve noticed [from international reports] that the virus travels through the air which means the old restrictions of two meters distance are not operational.

“We should change it to 10 meters. If that’s the case, then two meters is too short if the virus can travel through the air.

“The two meters we’ve been trying to implement and follow is not strong enough to prevent the virus [from spreading].”

Samoa currently remains COVID-19 free along with Pacific neighbours Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Thousands of Samoans have already been repatriated safely back to Samoa from New Zealand and have been cleared of the virus after undergoing the mandatory 14-days quarantine.

The Prime Minister has reconfirmed in his other program with 2AP that Samoa is Covid-19 free with regards to results from the quarantined passengers.

Meanwhile, the Government is urging the public to be patient with the lockdown following the declaration of a state of emergency [S.O.E.] late March.

Tuilaepa said safety is better than cure and the lockdown is for the benefit of everyone

“Everything is all for the safety of our people. Please, be patient with our lockdown as I’ve seen some said it’s too much but it’s better to be safe [than sorry],” he said.

The last flight into the country, which was expected to arrive 28 August with over 300 passengers, has been cancelled due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister said they will inform the public of the next flight into the country when it’s confirmed.

By Talaia Mika 31 August 2020, 6:00AM
Samoa Observer

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