- By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
FSM extends public emergency through July 31
The Federated States of Micronesia has entered its sixth month under a state of public health emergency, following the 21st FSM Congress’ move to extend President David Panuelo’s declaration through July 31.
Panuelo first declared public health emergency on Jan. 31, mandating a travel ban and the closure of FSM borders to prevent the entry of Covid-19 into the country.
The extended declaration requires the implementation of the social distancing standards and measures developed by the national and state governments.
The congressional resolution, which extended Panuelo’s public health emergency declaration, also calls for the development of a repatriation plan of FSM citizens, students, residents and members of the diplomatic corps, who have been in quarantine and isolation facilities.
“The government is aware that the nation’s citizens stranded abroad are keen to return. When this plan is developed and implemented, the Panuelo-George administration is likely to require any potential repatriating citizen or resident to submit to a Covid-19 test prior to arrival in the nation, followed by another test during and at the conclusion of their mandatory quarantine period upon arrival.
“While screening and quarantine procedures would remain in effect, the resolution allows the potential repatriation of some categories of individuals under some specific circumstances,capacity-building personnel and medical referral patients, as well human remains and the medical and family attendants thereof, as well as Government officials "whose duties are vital and indispensable.”
FSM has an available balance of $700,000 from Disaster Relief Fund, which Congress said will be used "in any manner necessary to deal with the coronavirus."
"Other funds received from foreign donors, including the United States, that are specifically related to the FSM national response to the Covid-19 pandemic may be used for nationwide capacity building, intensifying the surveillance and monitoring of international airports and seaports in the FSM, expanding and maintaining quarantine and travel restrictions, and other national efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19," the resolution states.
FSM was one of the first few countries that implemented stringent measures during the early stage of the contagion. It remains coronavirus-free.
The president's declaration noted "that FSM residents remain extremely vulnerable to this outbreak, taking into consideration the fact that airline travel routes connecting into the FSM already have confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Hawaii and Guam."
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