Samoan Government Orders Major Flight Reductions To Apia

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Over the weekend, the island-nation of Samoa in the South Pacific issued flight restrictions as part of the ongoing global reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions will see reduced service to the country’s airport in Apia, affecting four airlines.

Air New Zealand A320
Air New Zealand will be one reducing its Apia-Auckland service. An Airbus A321 usually operates this route. Photo: Airbus

Affected routes and services

According to Routesonline, the below restrictions are being imposed on the following airlines and routes, effective tomorrow – 2 March:

Air New Zealand

  • Apia-Auckland: This service will see a reduction from six weekly services to three

Fiji Airways

  • Apia-Nadi: This service will see a reduction from five weekly services to two

Talofa Airways

  • Apia-Pago Pago: This service will see a reduction from a high of eight daily services to a maximum of four

Samoa Airways

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  • Apia-Auckland: This service will see a reduction from five weekly services to three
  • Apia-Pago Pago: This service will see a reduction from a high of eight daily services to a maximum of four

Complying with the restrictions, Air New Zealand issued the following statement:

“Due to New Zealand’s close proximity to Samoa and the confirmation of its Covid-19 case in Auckland New Zealand, the increased risk of Covid–19 entering Samoa has elevated from high to very high and its impact on Samoa’s population remains catastrophic…The frequency of all international flights to Samoa will be reduced in our ongoing efforts to strengthen prevention of the Covid-19 entering Samoa.”

Strict control measures already in place

Early on in the progression of the outbreak, the nation of Samoa has been more proactive than most. In fact, although Samoa had not recorded a case by the end of January, travelers were already required to have a medical clearance at least three days before their arrival in Apia, confirming that they were free of any infectious diseases. This is according to RNZ.

Fiji Airways operates a Boeing 737 between Apia and Nadi. Photo: Alan Lebeda via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, the country has some of the tightest restrictions in place. In addition to a compulsory screening of all arriving passengers at all Samoan ports of entry, all Travelers originating from or transiting through eight specific countries must now spend at least 14 days self-quarantine at the country of last port that is free of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Those countries are:

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  • Mainland CHINA,
  • HONG KONG
  • MACAU
  • JAPAN
  • SINGAPORE
  • THAILAND
  • SOUTH KOREA
  • ITALY

Additionally, these travelers must “undergo medical clearance within (3) days prior to final route to Samoa … All Travelers before entering Samoa are required to be tested for the Coronavirus (COVID-2019).”

Conclusion

fiji-airways-boeing-737-max
Fiji Airways operated the 737 MAX on the route to Samoa before the grounding. Photo: Fiji Airways.

Samoa is by no means unfamiliar with trying to contain the infectious disease. In fact, their current response is likely coming from their recent experience. This is because at the end of 2019 a measles outbreak in Samoa devastated the nation. With the measles outbreak, over 80 people died with thousands more infected.

Do you think the restrictions put in place by the Samoan government are too restrictive or justified given their unique situation as a small island nation? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

The schedule information in this article was originally published by Routesonline

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