By Alfred Acenas
EBC Hawaii Bureau
HONOLULU (Eagle News) – Governor David Ige announced on Monday, July 13, that he will delay the launch of the pre-travel testing program for those bound for Hawaii. The said program is now rescheduled to begin on September 1.
For the time being, travelers entering the State of Hawaii, whether visitors or returning residents, will still be subject to the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
The governor made this decision in collaboration with Hawaii’s four county mayors. Several factors have contributed to the decision to delay the pre-travel testing program. They include the following:
- Some of Hawaii‘s main visitor markets such as California continue to receive large, uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19. Many of these communities are increasing restrictions and even rolling back reopening plans.
- Hawaii is also seeing an increase in cases, particularly those categorized as “community spreads.”
- The outbreaks on the mainland are affecting Hawaii’s testing supply, including an interruption in the supply chain from the U.S. mainland.
- Hawaii anticipates an uptick in cases when schools reopen in early August.
“This was an extremely difficult decision to make. This delay will further hurt our economy, but as I’ve always said we will make decisions based on the best available science and facts prioritizing the health and safety of Hawaii residents. Our county mayors and I agree this delay is essential to protect our community,” said Ige.
State officials explain that, once it is launched, the pre-travel testing program will be an important part of Hawaii’s multi-layered screening process to protect residents and visitors. Some new details are as follows:
- Travelers will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine if they test negative after taking a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.
- The test must be a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) conducted at a certified laboratory.
- If test results are not available by the time of arrival in Hawaii, the traveler will remain in quarantine until the test results are received. If the test results are negative and can be verified, the traveler will then be exempt from the quarantine.
- All travelers are subject to the pre-test requirement, including children of all ages.
- Travelers are responsible for the cost of the test.
- No commercial testing will be provided at Hawaii’s airports.
Governor Ige will issue a tenth supplementary emergency proclamation in the next few days.
(Eagle News Service)