By Pacific Island Times News Staff
MVA: CNMI's travel bubble with Korea only for vaccinated group travel
Saipan– Visitors coming to the Northern Mariana Islands through international flights are required to show a negative PCR test for Covid-19 before boarding their flight, the Marianas Visitors Authority said Tuesday.
The policy aligns with the U.S. national standard for all arriving passengers from foreign destinations.
The requirement, which began July 24, applies to all flights, including weekly flights by Jeju Air, Asiana Airlines and T’Way from Korea.
MVA reminded passengers that they will still need to quarantine for five days at, the government’s designated hybrid quarantine resort, and test negative for a third time before release.
“The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and CNMI Covid-19 Task Force have done a tremendous job of preventing Covid-19 at our borders, and all of the our off-shore travel partnersin Korea are aware that all passengers must have a negative PCR within 72 hours prior to embarkation to The Marianas,” said Priscilla Maratita Iakopo, MVA managing director.
Iakopo also emphasized that under the new travel bubble between the CNMI and Korea, only group travel for vaccinated individuals is encouraged, and all nonvaccinated passengers will still need to quarantine for five days.
“This requirements for international flights are even more stringent than what has been applied for arriving passengers from Guam, where we still continue to see some cases pop up," she added.
The first "travel bubble" flight from Korea arrived last Saturday. Prior to that flight, a familiarization tour flight on July 17, we did not have any positive tests.”
Iakopo emphasized that community protection against Covid-19 remains the central point of discussion among public and private sector partners involved in the planning for thepilot program.
Under the two-month CNMI Travel Resumption Investment Plan program, after five days of quarantine, passengers will then be allowed to transfer to only two other approved hotels in Saipan. If the program is successful in maintaining community safety against Covid-19, the industryis anticipated to continue a slow and organic recovery over the comingmonths.
From South Korea, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, and T’Way provide direct flights to Saipan from Seoul- Incheon or Busan.
Direct charter flight service is available from Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, while HK Express flies from Hong Kong. Daily flights from Tokyo, Japan, are operated by Skymark Airlines, and United Airlines has daily flight connections from four cities in Japan to Saipan with one stop via Guam.