By Alfred Acenas
EBC Hawaii-Pacific Bureau
HONOLULU (Eagle News) – Starting on Saturday, April 17, travelers from Taiwan may bypass Hawaii’s mandatory 10-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner, Governor David Ige announced.
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) for Taiwan’s pre-travel test, conducted by a laboratory authorized by the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare.
“Historically, the traveler from Taiwan to Hawaii has been mindful of our local ways and cultural traditions. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, visitors from Taiwan spent approximately $251 per person per day while in Hawaii. At a time when we seek to rebuild our economy while keeping our residents safe, the expansion of the pre-travel testing program to Taiwan is welcomed news,” said John De Fries, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“It’s delightful to see Taiwan becoming a trusted testing and travel partner with Hawaii, as the pre travel testing program is moving one step forward. Such effort will definitely encourage more travelers via Taipei – Honolulu flights, and help to promote economic activities with a safe path,” said Jessica Pan, general manager of China Airlines’ Honolulu Branch Office, the sole airline serving direct flights on this route.
While there are no direct flights from Taiwan to Hawaii at this time, the service will be useful for passengers arriving in the state via other international or U.S. mainland cities.
Taiwanese nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Taiwan remain in place.
In all cases, the test must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure and the negative test result submitted prior to departure for Hawaii.
In addition to the state’s program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States. The CDC requirement has been in effect since January 26, 2021.
For international travelers coming to Hawaii, tests from trusted testing partners only will be accepted for purposes of by-passing the state’s 10-day traveler quarantine.
Meanwhile, Governor Ige has also announced that Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Southern California will be the second airport certified by the DOH as a trusted testing partner. ONT will join Oakland International Airport (OAK), which began pre-departure COVID-19 testing services for Hawaii-bound travelers last October.
(Eagle News Service)