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Pacific News in Brief

Wednesday 29 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Pacific News in Brief
Photo: Supplied / American Samoa Department of Health

Call for Samoas to talk on travel, American Samoa easing covid restrictions, and rat infestation at govt department

Senior politician calls for pan-Samoan talks on travel and trade issues

A senior MP in Samoa has called for travel conditions to American Samoa to be relaxed from its current "complicated" system.

The FAST Party's Tea Peato was speaking during the 2022/2023 Budget debate this week.

The Samoa Observer reports he said that the talks between the two Samoas should be resumed to address this travel issue and to make it easier for strengthening trade relations.

Tea Peato said the current online Talofa Pass system being used by American Samoa for travellers to the territory was complicated and should be made accessible for all.

Pago Pago eases covid restrictions

American Samoa's government has introduced a new Covid-19 emergency declaration, leading to the easing of earlier restrictions.

The limited hours a business can operate, and a nightly curfew no longer apply.

The low number of Covid-19 cases in the community has led to the new declaration.

The government has been slowly lifting restrictions that have been in place since the first community outbreak case was reported in February this year.

Department moving out due to rat infestation

A rat infestation is forcing American Samoa's Department of Public Safety (DPS) to move out of its building at Tafuna.

The Department of Health says the DPS has 10 days to move out because the rats have made the building a health hazard.

The patrol division of DPS will move into the section of the office of motor vehicles used for training, and other personnel will use part of the building used for vehicle inspections.

Thousands of Vanuatu workers get day off to vote

About 40,000 voters in Port Vila, Vanuatu are being given the day off work on Wednesday to allow them to cast their votes to elect a new Port Vila Municipal Council.

Speaking ahead of the public holiday, the Head of the Electoral Commission Edward Kaltamat encouraged all voters to use their constitutional right to vote.

He said simply complaining that Port Vila Municipality is not serving the needs of the people of the Capital won't make any difference - but electing a new council can.

Kaltamat warned that the public holiday is not a time for workers to go for a swim or picnic.

Preparing for influx of Japanese tourists in Northern Marianas

The tourism body of the Northern Marianas will launch its Tourism Resumption Investment Plan for Japan to coincide with flights between Narita/Tokyo and Saipan resuming in September.

Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Priscilla Iakopo said United Airlines was the only airline that submitted a bid to their proposal calling for airlines to service the Japan-Saipan route.

From September 1, Iakopo said they're expecting more than 8,000 Japanese visitors to the CNMI until the end of the year.