Ige talks end of interisland quarantine

  • IGE

Gov. David Ige said Monday that he and Hawaii’s four county mayors are working to end the 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers.

“We’ll be announcing the final details by midweek this week, so everyone would know,” Ige said during a Honolulu Star-Advertiser Facebook Live forum.

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“I have been working with the mayors to identify … what the health metrics would be so that we can drop the interisland quarantine,” Ige said. “… As people might remember, the reason for putting in the interisland quarantine is because the virus activity on the neighbor islands is significantly lower than the virus activity here on Oahu.

“So, neighbor island residents were concerned about people coming from Oahu or neighbor islanders coming to Oahu and being infected with the virus and then returning home to their island.”

The state Department of Health on Monday reported 52 new COVID-19 cases statewide — 41 on Oahu, one on Maui and 10 on Hawaii Island.

The Big Island total is considerably fewer than the 43 cases reported Saturday — Hawaii County’s highest single-day new case total since the beginning of the pandemic. The majority of those positive tests were associated with an outbreak at the Life Care Center of Hilo that has killed two residents and a cluster at the University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona.

Ige said he’s “confident” the state will be ready Oct. 15 to lift the 14-day quarantine on trans-Pacific travelers who test negative for the coronavirus up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawaii. He said the state continues to develop and test a computer app to track arriving passengers.

“We continue to work and do the thousands of things … that need to be done in order to open on Oct. 15,” he said. “… We’re working with the counties to do a better job of enforcement of quarantine, because we do know that will be an important part of this new program.

“We do believe that we won’t see a real big surge in the initial visitors that come here. But we hope that we can slowly revive our economy by bringing … trans-Pacific visitors back to the islands.”

Ige added that those whose final destinations in Hawaii are on a neighbor island, but who have a layover at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu before catching their interisland flight, will remain exempt from the quarantine if they arrive in Hawaii with a negative COVID-19 result from a test administered within the prior 72 hours.

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But those who leave the airport before boarding a neighbor island flight will be subject to the interisland quarantine.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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