All international air travel to and from Samoa has been temporarily suspended, effective immediately.

The amendment to the State of Emergency includes repatriation flights and coincides with an extension of Level 3 Covid-19 Alert Level in the New Zealand city of Auckland.

Samoa’s Prime Minister said the decision was made because of the Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland.

Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said because the second wave of the coronavirus had seen mostly Pacific people infected, the decision had to be made.

He said in the meantime the government would also reassess the medical criteria travellers had been undertaking before boarding flights from New Zealand to Samoa.

Meanwhile the government also signalled a move to crack down on any infringements on restrictions around gatherings.

A maximum of 100 people are allowed to attend churches and funerals.

Tuila’epa said police would patrol the villages to check on the number of people in such services.

The prime minister said if there was a breach, under the State of Emergency, a pastor or minister, could be fined $US7,500.


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