A returning passenger boards the bus that took them to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 11 JULY 2020: More than 200 Samoan workers under the Recognized Seasonal Employers scheme arrived in Samoa on a special flight from New Zealand yesterday afternoon and are now under 14 days mandatory quarantine.
A health official confirmed that some of the RSE workers from Falealili are being quarantined at the Poutasi village hall.
It is the first group of RSE workers who have been stranded in New Zealand during the Covid-19 lockdown and the Samoan Government had been negotiating with Air New Zealand to bring the workers back home when borders started opening up.
Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Ulu Bismarck Crawley said that everyone will have to go through the mandatory 14 days quarantine and they will be monitored before they are released to go home. Samoa has yet to have a case of the coronavirus.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour that oversees the RSE workers scheme said that the returning RSE workers working contracts were up in April and May.
Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling told the government newspaper Savali that since the COVID-19 lock-down, none of the Samoan RSE workers in Australia and New Zealand had been affected.
Pulotu also said that while the workers are probably happy to be back, they however do not have the expected financial amount to bring home as they had to rely on their own money while in lock-down overseas.
The next flight is expected in the next 2 weeks to allow for other passengers14 mandatory quarantine required under the Covid-19 State of Emergency orders.
A health official confirmed that 3 suspected cases from the last repatriation flight are still under quarantine at the National Hospital awaiting further tests.