LIVE STREAM: Hawai‘i Trans-Pacific Travel Plans Delayed Amid COVID-19 Concerns, Spikes

July 13, 2020 COVID-19 Update

July 13, 2020 COVID-19 News Conference

Posted by Governor David Ige on Monday, July 13, 2020

*Check back here for a LIVE STREAM of the Governor’s announcement set to start at 2:30 p.m. today 7.13.20.

UPDATE: 2:34 p.m. 7.13.20

Gov. David Ige this afternoon announced he is delaying the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program by a month to Sept. 1, 2020. He also announced the extension of Hawai‘i’s 14-day quarantine on trans-Pacific travel to the end of August.  Gov. Ige said he still believes in the pre-travel testing program and reports that the state has made progress.  Announcements related to partners will be announced as negotiations have concluded.  He agreed that the developments will make economic recovery more challenging.

The announcement initially came during a meeting of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness today, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  Gov. Ige addressed  the media regarding his plans relating to trans-Pacific travel during a press briefing that started at 2:30 this afternoon.

The briefing will also include comments from state Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson on new cases; and information on modified rules for returning students to the University of Hawai‘i as outlined by UH President, David Lassner.

On June 24, the state announced plans to start the pre-travel COVID-19 testing program on Aug. 1, 2020.  Under the program, trans-Pacific travelers would be able to get a test 72-hours prior to arrival.  Those testing negative for the virus would be allowed to forgo the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.  With less than three weeks before the program is set to roll out, specifics on logistics have yet to be released.

The governor has faced mounting concerns amid reservations from county mayors.  The pressure also comes as spikes in cases occur on O‘ahu; and three deaths were reported among Hawai‘i residents today. Mayor Victorino has said that spikes on the mainland have resulted in delays in testing capabilities and the amount of test kits available for Hawai‘i.

On Friday, Mayor Victorino expressed reservations about re-opening trans-Pacific travel and rolling out the state’s pre-travel testing program on the previously announced Aug. 1 date.

“Many of us have seen surges not only on Oʻahu but in the mainland.  Many of those are prime markets–say for example California.  So the concern is there; there is no question in my mind. And so for most of us we are looking at a later date than Aug. 1; however, if things were to change quite substantially and quite rapidly on the other side of the coin, like we were about a month ago when we were having very few cases here in Hawaiʻi, and many of the states that we’re talking about now… they were doing well because they were shut down.  They were on stay at home orders.  If we see changes in that area and numbers start to decrease, we may reconsider another date.”

Mayor Victorino continued saying, “I would hate to put a date that forces people to say ‘well you said this.’  Let me say for less of a better term, I’m going to give you my best guesstimation… Sept. 1.  Now, if anything else happens and it can be done earlier, safely with the well being and health of our people, I’d consider it at that point. But the call is going to be made by the state, by the governor and the Department of Health and Gen. Hara and that group of people with our consultation of course.”

A separate quarantine on interisland travel was lifted on Tuesday, June 16.  That applied only to air travel within the state.  Anyone arriving into the state is still be subject to the 14-day quarantine as outlined in the Governor’s previous orders.  Upon lifting the interisland quarantine, the state has implemented thermal screening, a new interisland travel form and a more robust contact tracing program.

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