Sirens and flashing lights herald Yap’s Covid-19 preparedness exercise


Yap State officials meet with members of the FSM National Covid-19 Taskforce Assessment team who are on the island until May 10 to determine the readiness of the island’s medical personnel, taskforce and facilities. Photo by Joyce McClure

Colonia, Yap-- The blaring sirens and flashing lights of ambulance and public safety vehicles are among the signs this week that the normally quiet island of Yap is preparing for the repatriation of its residents who have been stranded overseas since the pandemic slammed into the world and the FSM’s borders closed more than 14 months ago.


Eight members of the FSM National Covid-19 Taskforce Assessment team are on the island until May 10 to determine the readiness of the island’s medical personnel, taskforce and facilities.


The intensive 12-day program is a critical step in ensuring that the island is prepared for the arriving citizens who include medical patients, students, government workers, and those who were simply visiting relatives in Guam, Hawaii and the mainland when the pandemic hit.


Led by Dr. Joanes Sarofalpiy, Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program medical director with the FSM National Department of Health and Social Affairs, the assessment process uses the World Health Organization’s simulation exercise scenario and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention readiness checklist.


Divided into three modules, the team is conducting a facilities assessment, tabletop exercise and a field simulation exercise.