Quarantine escapee panic
Downtown Apia was abuzz with panic on Wednesday after a man was apprehended after having fled mandatory quarantine and visiting a Western Union outlet in Savalalo seeking to withdraw money.
The man was immediately taken into custody by Police and the Ministry of Health this morning.
A short time after the escapee was apprehended, Ministry of Health workers clad in full Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) were seen conducting an apparent cleaning operation outside the money transfer office.
Western Union's Team Leader, Vonda Ausage, said close to 30 people had been at their office this morning when a man who had escaped quarantine came in to collect money from the Savalalo office.
“Health officials and police officers came in and removed him immediately from the queue,” said Ms. Ausage.
“We weren’t aware of what was happening until the authorities asked us to close down the office so they could contain the area and carry out their procedure.
“We were informed of the situation that the man escaped quarantine and had one more week left until he can leave the site.”
A flight from New Zealand arrived in Apia on 30 September and brought 249 passengers on the flight. All passengers are required to undergo 21 days quarantine; a period scheduled to expire by week's end.
The Western Union team leader added she was concerned about the well being of other people who had been in line at the outlet and or left the office when the escapee came in.
Another teller from the outlet Western Union, Hanna Faapaia said they have been instructed by the health authority to attend to a doctor to ensure they are cleared.
Video of the workers made its way around social media.
The owner of a stall selling ie lavalava on the side of the Savalalo office said the escapee should be locked up for putting everyone at risk.
Attempts are being made to get an official comment from the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Operation Centre.
The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has said that all passengers on the incoming flight had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.
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