Manumā Samoa test negative for Covid-19 during extended stay in NZ

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A Samoan national representative rugby team is having an extended stay in New Zealand after being caught in the lockdown on their way home from Australia.

The Manumā Samoa had gone into self-isolation in Auckland after returning from their Rapid Rugby season opener in Perth last March.

However once New Zealand’s lockdown was implemented and flights restricted, the team was stuck.

The CEO of Samoa Rugby, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, said the Manumā Samoa players had all been tested for Covid-19.

“They’ve all come back negative but they’re staying there [in NZ] possibly for another three to four weeks I guess and the Union is providing them accommodation and meals while they’re up there for the next four weeks,” said Faleomavega.

The team’s enforced quarantine period ended on Monday but the team had to wait out the duration of the national lockdown before it returned home.

Faleomavaega said despite the delay the team was doing well.

“The team is fine and in good spirits and understand the situation and unfortunately on their way back, our government as well had also issued a State of Emergency that everybody who has travelled from Australia whether on transit or originating from Australia has to serve a 14-day stand-down quarantine before they’re allowed to come to Samoa.”

The team will remain in their South Auckland accommodation until flights back to Samoa are available.

However, Faleomavega expected Samoa’s State of Emergency to be extended, possibly prolonging their stay even longer.

“Following the measles crisis last year, there’s been a huge lesson learnt from that and our government is taking huge steps to make sure that Samoa does not get another epidemic into the islands but we’re doing everything we can,” he said.

“We want to make sure that the health and safety of all our players and our country is what is most important at this point of time…. The less travel coming in and out of Samoa I think is better for us.”

For now, he said the team was enjoying the company of each other.


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