Five of the 296 Samoan sailors awaiting repatriation home after a flight they were supposed to travel on from LA to Apia last week was cancelled, had been infected with the coronavirus.
They are to return home January 22, 2021 on a special originating in Los Angeles, then to New Zealand before flying to Samoa.
The only passengers on the flight are the Samoan sailors.
One sailor cannot leave as he is detained on an assault charge in the US.
Sixty four of the seafarers have been working on freighters and 232 are employed on cruise ships.
CEO of Samoa Shipping Services which is responsible for seafarers working overseas, Lautimuia Alo Uelese Vaai, revealed this information at a press conference yesterday.
to assure families of the stranded sailors that all are well and the companies they work for are employing them until they return home.
The five who tested positive for coronavirus are separate from the 23 year old sailor who has been recorded as Samoa’s first coronavirus case.
Under new rules announced by Samoa’s National Emergency Operations Committee, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus has to be clear of the virus six months prior and must provide three negative coronavirus tests before they are allowed entry into Samoa.
It’s not known if the five who are awaiting repatriation will be able to travel home on the January 22 flight, under these new requirements.
The Samoa Shipping Services CEO said the sailors who tested positive for the virus have all fully recovered and have produced negative results for the virus in recent tests. Some had contracted the virus in August.
The Director General of Health Leausa Dr Take Naseri said he was not aware of the five confirmed cases and this information had not been communicated by the samoa Shipping Services. He indicated that they would have to investigate the medical history of these five sailors.
The sailors some of whom are traveling from Europe will board the flight in Los Angeles and will fly to New Zealand before continuing on to Samoa.
Minister responsible for shipping, Papaliitele Unasa Niko Li Hang said the sailors will be subject to health checks upon departure from the countries they are in and upon arrival in Samoa. They will also be subject to the usual quarantine protocols and be tested before they are released to reunite with their families.