2 Jul 2021

Covid-19 requirements in Samoa prevents 7s teams entering

8:42 am on 2 July 2021

Covid-19 requirements in Samoa has prevented the Manu Samoa and Manusina Sevens squads from entering the country, after blood tests didn't meet the State of Emergency (SOE) requirements.

The Manu Samoa and Manusina Sevens squads in Monaco.

The Manu Samoa and Manusina Sevens squads in Monaco. Photo: Facebook/Manu Samoa Sevens

The teams were on their way home after playing in the Monaco Olympic repechage tournament, but were off-loaded a week ago to complete their required Covid-19 tests.

It could be a month before they set foot on home shores again, with the last scheduled commercial flight on transit from Auckland to Apia on June 25. The next flight is not scheduled until July 26.

Despite receiving their two Astrazeneca vaccinations prior to leaving Samoa, and returning negative results in Dubai, alternative options considered by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and recommendations for approval was declined by Cabinet.

The caretaker Government's concerns over the pandemic variant in Fiji coupled with the Manu Samoa match played in Wellington last week under alert level 2 was another deciding factor to protect Samoa's border.

Lakapi Samoa Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i, said they are exploring all possible options to bring the teams home safely.

"We respect and comply with the position taken by the Government to continue protecting Samoa from this deadly virus and we are exploring all possible options with our key stakeholders to bring our teams home safely," he said.

"The welfare of our players is our priority and we are liaising closely with management at all times."

The Samoan community in Dubai are coming together to support those trapped in the country, he added.

"Together with support from World Rugby, HSBC Dubai Rugby Officials, Pacific Rugby Players and the Dubai based Samoan community, we will ensure our travelling team and management are cared for in a safe and comfortable environment at their hotel."