The passengers were returning to Samoa after undergoing medical treatment in India and were refused entry at Faleolo International Airport Sunday.
They had earlier transited through Singapore, which is one of the country’s listed on Samoa’s Coronavirus Border Security Travel Advisory.
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health, Bernadette Welch told the Fiji Sun that the Samoan nationals have had all the necessary health checks and do not pose any threat of the novel coronavirus to Fiji.
The passengers that included five patients and three caregivers will await the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine period before returning to Samoa.
As a precautionary measure and to ensure that the patients’ are not in any danger, Samoa health authorities assured that contact has been made with representatives of the Apollo and Fortis Hospitals based in Fiji to facilitate the Samoans during their self-quarantine period. The patients had underwent medical treatment at the two hospitals in India under the government funded Overseas Medical Referral program.
In a statement this week Ministry of Health’s Chief Executive Leausa Dr. Take Naseri also reassured that the necessary arrangements have been made with Apollo and Fortis Hospital officials in Fiji to provide any assistance for the Samoans in case they need medical attention.
“We will continue to monitor the patient’s situation from here.
“An open line of communication is now established with Apollo and Fortis representatives in Fiji,” said Leausa. “And they are fully aware of the situation and they have contacted their respective hospitals in India.”
Leausa said that the patients may have not been informed that Singapore was included in the list of high risk countries as their flight may had already departed when the Travel Advisory was last updated Friday evening.
After the 14 self-quarantine period outside of the country, all travellers including Samoan residents are mandated to undergo a medical examination by a Registered Medical Practitioner within (3) days before arrival as prescribed by the Government’s Travel Advisory. The medical clearance is required for check-in prior to issuing of boarding passes.
All travellers from other countries not listed in the high-risk list of countries are required only to provide the three day prior to departure medical certificate clearance.
In total 19 travellers including the Samoans were denied entry Sunday night.
The remaining 11 are none Samoan residents who had either travelled from Mainland China or transited through the six countries listed in the Travel Advisory.
The countries are Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan and Thailand.
Photo file RNZ Pacific Caption: Nadi International Airport, Fiji