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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

Panuelo shuts off Chuuk, bans all arrivals

David Panuelo

FSM President David Panuelo

Palikir, Pohnpei— Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo shuts off Chuuk from all travelers and imposes mandatory quarantine for all passengers entering other states of FSM.

The new guidelines are part of Panuelo's declaration National Public Health Emergency in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, which is now spreading in Hawaii and Guam.

Panuelo was in Guam for a couple of days on official business trip.

"All travelers will be subject to mandatory quarantine upon their arrival into the nation regardless of the FSM State they are arriving to, except for Chuuk State where disembarking is not allowed until March 29," according FSM Information Service's announcement. "Quarantine is mandatory; there are to be no exceptions to this policy in any circumstance."

Passengers arriving in Pohnpei are screened by health officials. Photo courtesy of FSMIS

Passengers arriving in Pohnpei are screened by health officials. Photo courtesy of FSMIS

The 14-day delay in a Covid-19 free jurisdiction no longer applies on the premise that there are no Covid-19 free jurisdictions for FSM citizens to delay in.

The FSM government discourages its citizens from traveling back home unless absolutely necessary. "Non-FSM citizens are strongly encouraged to remain abroad until after the Covid-19 pandemic has subsided," the FSMIS said.

In the event of a conflict between the FSM National and FSM State Declarations and Emergency Orders, the president's order takes precedence, FSMIS said. "All components of FSM State Declarations and Emergency Orders that do not conflict with the President’s Declaration are to be respected and adhered to in full, such as the FSM State of Pohnpei requiring a medical certificate from a licensed medical professional stating that the traveler is symptom-free."

On his way back to Pohnpei from Guam, Panuelo called on Chuuk Gov. Johnson S. Elimo to ban all arrivals until March 29.

Although the President’s declaration legally supersedes the Governor’s, Panuelo and Elimo—agreeing that the safety and security of the people of Chuuk is paramount, and that the finalization on the establishment of quarantine facilities is necessary—agreed that no passengers will be allowed to deplane in Chuuk given the lack of sufficient quarantine facilities. After March 29, any traveler to Chuuk will require a 14-day stay in a designated quarantine facility.

Travel to the FSM State of Pohnpei, per a March 19 amendment to Pohnpei’s Constitutional Emergency Order 20-01, is only allowed for “Pohnpei residents,” which “include noncitizens who are employed by the Pohnpei state government, the FSM national government, diplomatic corps, businesses, international agencies and nonprofit organizations” as well as “medical and technical personnel to assist with Covid-19, at the request of Pohnpei State.” This also includes any medical or technical personnel requests by the FSM national government.

Panuelo spoke with Pohnpei Gov. Reed B. Oliver on the phone, advising him that the national government is willing to look past jurisdictional issues and adapt to a rapidly evolving scenario to work with the nation’s states as the FSM endeavors to protect its citizens and residents.


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