Samoan Pastor fined for violating self-isolation rules

A Samoan Pastor has been fined after he was reported to have defied security guards and forcibly entered the place where his wife was being self-isolated.

Samoa Police have confirmed that the pastor has been fined $2,000 tala.

The Officer in charge of Samoa’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said they responded to a call from the security firm to report the incident.

Filipo said the pastor’s wife returned to Samoa on one of the repatriation flights from New Zealand, and had been granted permission to be isolated in her own home.

Samoa’s SOE Orders allows returning residents to be quarantined “at the passenger(s) home as approved by the Director General of Heath upon prescribed conditions determined by him or her for approval for self-isolation quarantine”.

Conditions of self-isolation at one’s own home include a home with a fence, sufficiently distanced from neighbors, and pre-stocked with supplies by family members. There must also be no other residents living inside the home, besides the returning passenger(s).

The Ministry of Health had granted this self-isolation special permission to the pastor’s wife, however, Police said that the pastor ignored the security guard placed outside the isolation area, and forcibly entered the home where his wife was quarantined.

According to Filipo, the couple refused to be taken to Faleolo, and begged Dr Robert Thompson of the Health Ministry to let them self-isolate, together, at their own home.

Police say the Pastor and his wife continue to be self-isolated on their property, despite national protocols in place requiring citizens who break quarantine rules to be taken to the Faleolo centre.