Samoa reluctant to reopen border

Thursday May 14, 2020 Written by RNZ Published in Small World
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao. RNZ Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao. RNZ

Samoa’s prime minister says he has deep reservations about reopening its border.

 

Samoa was one of the first to lock down because of Covid-19, fearing a repeat of last year’s measles epidemic which killed 83 people.

The country’s tourism industry has been hard hit by the shut down, and there has been talk about joining a so-called travel bubble if New Zealand eliminates Covid-19.

But in a video recorded by his office, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he’s reluctant to rush into reopening.

“There’s a proverbial saying, once bitten twice shy. We have been hit hard by the measles, and we did not want to be hit again a second time.

“That’s why we took off at the first sign of Covid, and we were criticised very heavily because of that but we made the decision, and that’s it,” he said.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he’d want assurances from Australia and New Zealand before joining any bubble, including health tests before departure.

Solomons gets ready

The Solomon Islands government is considering reopening its borders next week.

Prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said it would be conditional on the country’s Covid-19 testing facilities being at full capacity.

Sogavare said health authorities have indicated this should be achieved by Friday, with a strictly managed border reopening to follow.

“Considerations are underway to see if we can bring in the first passenger flight on the week starting  May 18,” said.

He said passenger or repatriation flights will also depend on the availability of mandatory quarantine facilities.

Meanwhile, casinos, kava bars and pubs in the capital, Honiara, have been allowed to reopen, but nightclubs are still closed.

 

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