28 Sep 2020

Samoa extends State of Emergency despite no Covid cases

10:30 am on 28 September 2020

The Samoan government has extended its Covid-19 State of Emergency until 26 October.

Government building in Apia, Samoa.

Government building in Apia, Samoa. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jenny Meyer

The Samoa Observer reported the weekend announcement by Cabinet will take the country into a seventh month of restrictions despite Samoa not having recorded any cases of coronavirus.

The extension was met with an appeal for common sense in government decision-making from some sectors of the business community.

The President of the Samoa Hotels Association, Tupa'i Saleimoa Vaai, said while it was understandable, especially because of the government's duty to protect lives, he would still like to see some restrictions relaxed to help the struggling tourism industry.

"We do support whatever measures that the Government would see fit to put in place to ensure our safety and that effort should primarily focus on our border controls and our preparations in terms of health in case the epidemic comes through our borders," he said.

Meanwhile the government is now allowing Sunday flights between the islands of Savai'i and Upolu but for medical emergencies only.

Cabinet also approved the opening of private pharmacies on Sundays.

The current orders that prohibited Sunday ferry services between Savai'i and Upolu remained.