S.O.E. extension again, until July 4
The caretaker Cabinet has approved another four weeks extension to the State of Emergency (S.O.E.) until July 4, 2021.
In a public release on Friday evening, the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through the Press Secretariat confirmed that Cabinet approved an extension of the S.O.E. for COVID19 during their cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The extension will be effective from Monday June 7, until Sunday July 4.
The public statement also confirmed an extension of the S.O.E. amendments of Emergency Orders for the same period meaning restrictions like swimming on a Sunday remains banned.
The matter is subject to a review of Cabinet in July before the extension runs out.
Last week, Prime Minister-elect, Fiame Naomi Mataafa slammed the prolonged S.O.E. as "ridiculous".
She questioned its necessity and said they seek to change the circumstances.
"This Government intends to change what you have become used to, and aspire to what the public expects, and is going to review and consider all the policies, all the processes, and all the things which frustrate ordinary people," she said in her address.
"Like some of the more ridiculous restrictions in the Emergency Orders, how they have impacted your family, your business, and why they’re still in place."
Samoa has been under the State of Emergency due to the global pandemic since March 2020, initially meant to last only two weeks.
That was 16 months ago.
Starting out stringently with the limiting of crowds in public places, the S.O.E. orders have been greatly eased to allow for businesses to bloom again and allow public gatherings.
The orders, which span 13 pages and include 20 separate rules and regulations, have largely been in place since March 2020 when the threat of the pandemic first headed for Samoa.
A swift border closure meant no infections made it into the country and with the exception of one asymptomatic case and a handful of historical cases caught in the quarantine system for arrivals, Samoa has remained COVID-19 free.
Meanwhile, Samoa's international borders continue to remain shut with exceptions only for repatriation flights for returning Samoans from overseas and foreigners seeking a way home.
Every passenger will be put through a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated locations. Failure to comply with the travel restrictions may attract a fine of up to $2,000.
The Government continues to roll out its vaccination programme to the general population, from district to district.
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