Majority of citizens still abroad are seasonal workers

The majority of citizens abroad that will be included in the long-term repatriation phase are seasonal workers in New Zealand (NZ) and Australia.

To date over 1,000 had been repatriated from NZ, but around 3,000 are still abroad, said Director of Public Health and Spokesperson on COVID-19 matters, Len Tarivonda.

Seasonal workers were initially not included in the first repatriation phase.

The government decided that additional flights be organised to bring over 1,000 workers home immediately because they were facing health, family and work issues. Some of them lost their jobs and have been living off their savings.

Instead of bringing in a large number of repatriates over a short period of time like what happened recently, Tarivonda said proper planning is required for the next phase.

Prime Minister (PM) Bob Loughman announced that the government will commence the long-term repatriation phase in August.

He made it clear that there will be no repatriation flights next month to allow authorities to reflect on lessons learnt and do proper planning for the next phase.

Director Tarivonda said a workshop on repatriation review will be held next month.

Repatriation flights under the first phase are complete but quarantine is ongoing with the last repatriates to be released on July 9, he said.

15 hotels are being used as quarantine facilities, he added.

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