Samoa rethinks repatriation flights after positive covid cases

Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has said the government may cancel regular repatriation flights from Australia after 10 positive cases arrived among 73 passengers from Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon.

She said a repatriation flight scheduled for Saturday from New Zealand had already been postponed.

Fiame has also confirmed that nine passengers who had “close contact” with the affected passengers are now in controlled isolation at the medical facility near Faleolo International Airport.

The Prime Minister has urged fellow parliamentarians to take the lead in preventive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa
Photo: Provided / SPREP

Fiame said they could start by wearing face masks in public places, washing their hands and keeping a safe distance.

National Emergency Operations Center chairman Agafili Shem Leo said frontline workers at the main hospital’s special isolation facilities have started “camping out” for the duration of the isolation period of 21 days.

PNG tightens rules in attempt to block Omicron

Public gatherings of 100 or more people have been banned in Papua New Guinea until March 1.

This comes after the detection of the first Omicron case in PNG.

National Pandemic Response Comptroller David Manning said they were trying to control the rate of infections before the country enters its election period, which is due in May.

He gave the example of India where the country recorded 400,000 Covid deaths during its election period last year.

The first case of Omicron in PNG is a 45-year-old expatriate, who traveled from South Africa.

He was diagnosed in Goroka on December 26, 2021.

Manning said all requests for events of more than 100 people will not be approved until February 28, while previous approvals that were granted are now revoked.

Public gatherings of 100 or more people have been banned in Papua New Guinea until March 1.

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