Quarantined residents meet on Zoom Conference with Governor Lemanu prior to arrival
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On Saturday, January 30, 2021, Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga accompanied the COVID-19 Task Force during a final briefing and After-Action Report after the last exercise on the same day. They discussed all phases of the repatriation operation and offered the Administration's full support and available resources needed to safely process and transport repatriation participants from the airport to the hotel.
A Zoom conference call followed up this briefing with Gov. Lemanu, Lt. Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale, and ASDOH Director Motusa Tuileama Nua with returning residents in quarantine to explain the COVID 19 Task Force’s local procedures upon their arrival. Many of them had questions and concerns, but all were comforted by detailed responses by the group of dedicated physicians, nurses, clinical and support staff, and the Covid Task Force.
It was an emotional exchange. Many expressed great appreciation with tears due to many months of waiting. There was no plan, no date on when they could return, and no hope of returning home.
These residents took actions into their own hands and joined the advocacy group the Tagata Tutu Faatasi Alliance of American Samoa (TTFAAS); families and friends both off-island and here in American Samoa have protested on several occasions; many have shared their stories on both local and national media, and have requested numerous times to the previous Task Force for help.
However, after such a long wait of no answers, they are genuinely thankful and happy to return home finally.
During the Zoom meeting, the President of TTFAAS, Eileen Tyrell, spoke on behalf of all returning residents to express their utmost gratitude to Gov. Lemanu and Lt. Gov. Talauega for their courage to repatriate our people home. Several other returning residents shared and voiced their appreciation as well.
Lemanu reminded our returning residents to keep the faith as they will endure another two weeks of quarantine upon arrival and that they will be reunited with their families and friends soon enough.
"Unity in Prayer is our strength, and we will find strength in each other as we come together during these trying times. We will also pray for all the First Responders, EOC participants, and the COVID 19 Task Force and hope for a smooth operation when you arrive. We are halfway to our goal. We all must remain in good spirits,” Lemanu said.
He continued, "I am hopeful the next time we see each other, it will be here at home. I applaud you all for persevering and being patient thus far; from the time spent at the White Sands Hotel en-route to Tradewinds, we ask that you continue your patience. We are all anticipating your safe travels and are looking forward to the end of your Long Journey Home."