PORTLAND,23 JULY 2020 (FSMIS) — Joe Enlet, consul general of the Federated States of Micronesia based in the U.S. State of Oregon, on 18 July sent a request to the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs that the consulate office be closed indefinitely, with essential services such as passport applications to continue on a limited basis through remote liaising.
The reasons cited for the request include complications posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FSM national government is aware that the United States is presently undergoing significant increases of Covid-19 cases, including in states that FSM citizens predominantly reside in e.g. the State of Oregon, the State of Washington, the State of North Carolina, the State of Ohio, and the State of Texas.
FSM citizens living in the U.S. are explicitly encouraged to comply with the U.S. Centres for Disease Control & Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, to avoid large public gatherings, and to wear a mask when one is at work or shopping for essential goods.
For statistical purposes, FSM citizens are placed within the Pacific Islander category within U.S. Census and American Community Survey data etc. Pacific Islanders are suffering from the highest rate of Covid-19, far outnumbering other categories such as Asian, Black, White, or Hispanic residents of the United States of America.
As of 21 July, 2020, the FSM national government was aware of at least 64 FSM citizens in the U.S. mainland who have been confirmed to have contracted a case of Covid-19. The FSM national government is further aware of at least 11 FSM citizens in the U.S. who have passed away from the virus. The numbers the FSM national government can confirm are likely lower than the actual total number of cases and deaths, as the cases and numbers identified within this release have been directly reported to the FSM national government.
“I want to emphasise that these numbers are merely what is reported to the FSM consulate and what we have been able to confirm ourselves,” Consul General Enlet wrote in a communication to the Department of Foreign Affairs. “There are over 60 cases that our partners…have confirmed for the State of Hawaii alone.”
“This is an opportune time to capitalise on the collaborative effort,” Jackson Soram, deputy chief of mission of the FSM Embassy in the U.S., said in a statement. “Through the CARES Act, there is funding available to FSM groups and communities in the U.S. to address Covid-19. So far, the only active participant in utilising these funds is the Manelu Organisation of Guam (a.k.a. the Micronesian Resource Centre One Stop Shop). The embassy and its consulates encourage Micronesian communities to reach out to the embassy if they wish to apply for these funds to help keep our citizens and their communities safe from the coronavirus.” …. PACNEWS

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