Federated States of Micronesia President David W. Panuelo on Saturday declared a state of national public health emergency in response to the worsening Covid-9 pandemic that has swept into 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people.
The declaration, according to a press release from FSM Information Service, was based on the advice of Panuelo’s Cabinet and the COVID-19 Task Force and in consultation with the World Health Organization.
FSM citizens are banned from traveling to countries, states, or territories with confirmed cases of Covid-19, including the United States, Japan, Australia, China.
However, the FSMI government said exceptions may be granted for those traveling “out of economic necessity, education, urgent medical treatment, or for immediate family emergencies (e.g., returning to work, going to school, or death or terminal illness of an immediate family member).”
FSM citizens will still be banned, however, from traveling to China.
Persons traveling into the FSM are required to reside in a Covid-19-free jurisdiction for 14 days, as consistent with the previous declaration.
As of March 14, Hawaii has multiple cases of Covid-19 and is not an acceptable location for the 14-day delay. Guam is presently the only acceptable location for the 14-day delay prior to arrival into the FSM, according to the government’s press release. In the event that Guam receives a case of Covid-19, the FSM will allow travel from both Guam and Hawaii.
The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services said the Public Health Laboratory in Tamuning has tested a total of nine patients, whose samples all returned negative for Covid-19.
“Regardless of any Covid-19 cases in Hawaii and Guam, travelers originating from those jurisdictions with no symptoms of Covid-19 will be permitted to travel to the FSM, but will be subject to mandatory quarantine upon their arrival,” the FSMIS said.
Keeping Guam and Hawaii open will ensure timely importation of supplies and materials including medicines, food, and the mail, the successful sending of samples should Covid-19 arrive in the FSM, and the continued movement of healthy travelers.
“Any terminating traveler in the FSM having symptoms of Covid-19 will be permitted to enter, but will be subject to quarantine/isolation requirements,” FSMIS said.
The FSM government said the processes used for cargo shipping and commercial sea and fishing vessels are identical to the previous declaration. Commercial shipping does not end, and the Government is cooperating closely with the private sector to ensure the timely arrival and continuation of supplies.
“The supermarkets will be stocked, and the power plants will have diesel; we will continue to prosper,” Panuelo said in a statement.
The Executive Branch is confident that the 21st FSM Congress, through Congressional Resolution 21-129, acted on the best information it had at the time to serve the Nation and its citizens.
“I look forward to continuing a close working relationship based on mutual trust and a mutual dedication to service with our 21st FSM Congress,” Panuelo said. “It is with the importance of keeping our country safe that my delegation and I are undertaking the fourteen days quarantine in Guam, and working on acquiring medical certificates for the purpose of meeting Pohnpei State government’s requirements.”