By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: Over 300 passengers who arrived on the first Covid-19 repatriation flight from Australia last night are now on mandatory quarantine for 21 days. The passengers included returning Samoan scholarship students from China and Japan and Samoan nationals who were stranded in Australia due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Also on board were the bodies of the three deceased Samoan nationals that included two seasonal workers from Safata who died in a car accident in Perth, Western Australia and a first year scholarship student who died in Melbourne in August.
The flight was over two hours late due to delayed connecting flights for the student passengers from China and Japan.
Security at the Faleolo airport was tight and members of the public were removed from the main arrival area to wait around the airport main gate.
Most of the passengers will be in quarantine sites already established and a few passengers have been granted home isolation after meeting all safety isolation criteria.
Memorial service for the deceased seasonal workers
The Samoan community in Perth, Western Australian held a memorial service for the two seasonal workers who died in a car accident last month.
The Samoan Council in Western Australia, chaired by the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, Matafeo Tanielu Aiafi, reached out to the Samoan community asking for contributions to donate to the families of the deceased.
There was a memorial church service held for the deceased last Sunday. It was a chance for the Samoan community to meet the other seasonal workers posted in Western Australia, and was followed by a to’onai attended by members of the Council and the Samoan community.
Reports said the death of the two seasonal workers drew the Samoan community together to pay their respects and offer their support before the bodies were flown over on last nights’ flight.