By Pacific Island Times News Staff
FSM citizens stranded in Marshall Islands set to be repatriated on May 31
Palikir, Pohnpei— After completing the repatriation of 42 citizens and foreign diplomats stranded on Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia is now preparing to bring home the Micronesian travelers who are stuck in the Marshall Islands. They are scheduled to be repatriated on May 31, according to the Office of the FSM President.
"More information will become available to the public on the repatriation effort from the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the coming days and weeks," the FSM government said.
FSM President David Panuelo welcomed the citizens who arrived from Guam on May 13 and 14. "We have missed you and look forward to seeing you reconnect with your family and loved ones once you complete your mandatory quarantine period," the president told the arriving citizens," the president told them.
The returning citizens were required to undergo strict safety protocols prior to entering the quarantine site in Pohnpei. They spent seven days at a pre-quarantine site on Guam prior to their flight to Pohnpei. They were tested before and upon their arrival in FSM.
Those who were fully vaccinated will spend seven days in quarantine in Pohnpei, and those who arrived unvaccinated will stay a total of 14 days prior to their entry into the broader community.
Officials said all repatriating persons underwent testing upon arrival into Pohnpei and will again prior to exiting the quarantine facility. “I encourage you to embrace our stranded citizens with the love they deserve. The return of our stranded citizens is a blessing, an objectively good thing to happen for all of us; let us greet them all with the warmth and respect our Micronesian cultures are famous for," Panuelo said.
The returning citizens included stranded medical patients and their respective attendants, students and essential personnel.
They were among the more than 200 citizens stranded in different jurisdictions when the FSM government shut down its borders at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic last year.
"All individuals the repatriating persons encountered when they left the pre-quarantine site in Guam to the aircraft, including inside the aircraft itself, wore personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves," the FSM government said.
"All members of the crew for the United States Armed Forces asset were vaccinated. After the first flight on May 13, the crewmembers were quarantined in Guam prior to the flight on May 14. All members of the crew were also tested, multiple times prior to the flights."
Panuelo assured other FSM citizens stranded elsewhere that they will be brought back home. “After the repatriation effort for the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the next effort will continue to focus on stranded citizens in Covid-19 affected jurisdictions," he said. "Consider the success of May 13 and 14 as evidence of our sincerity; you will come home where you belong and where you are wanted and loved.”