Samoans surged not to defy curfew

Tuesday 3 December 2019 | Published in Regional


SAMOA – Police in Samoa are warning people not to defy curfew orders under a state of emergency for the country’s measles outbreak.

Some people continue to defy the orders by taking their children to public gatherings, including church services, the Samoa Observer reports.

That is a breach of the State of Emergency provisions for which people could find themselves charged or even arrested.

Samoa’s Deputy Police Commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti said arresting or charging would be a last resort in a bid to enforce the orders.

But Papalii urged members of the clergy, as well as village leaders and parents to heed the order.

She said police officers were explaining the orders to members of the public and issuing warnings if citizens were not obeying.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church that has closed all church meetings and gatherings until the State of Emergency is lifted.

Other denominations have continued their Sunday services but have asked people under 19 years of age to stay away.

On Sunday, churches prayed prayed for those who had lost loved ones to measles as well as those fighting the disease.

The past weekend also marked the start of Advent – the lead-up to Christmas celebrations.

Father Losi Antonio, of Mulivai Catholic Church in the south of Samoa, said said that traditional Christmas gatherings have been cancelled.

“We are heading towards Christmas, a time of happiness, a time of love, a time of joy, but these families are suffering,” he said.

Sunday services at churches affiliated with the National Council of Churches in Samoa held services especially dedicated to the ongoing measles crisis.

The Chairman of the council, Deacon Leaupepe Kasiano Leaupepe, said that Sunday’s display of unity was a joint initiative with the government.

“May the first day of the last month of this year bring us together, united through prayer, as we ask for God’s healing powers over our nation suffering from this disease,” he said.

“We ask all church leaders to remember our country in your prayers. We will also pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones especially the children – please do not be weak in spirit.”

“Do not be sad for the Lord has called them back in heaven. God blessed us with the children but he has called back all his beloved children to his Kingdom,” he said.