SAIPAN, 06 DECEMBER 2021 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — The Commonwealth faces new Covid-19 restrictions effective today, as the surge in community cases and hospitalisations continue to rise, Governor Ralph Torres said Sunday.

These include new guidelines on in-person interactions, public gatherings, and vaccine verification, all of which will be in effect until Sunday, 19 December.

On Friday, the governor said he had discussed this matter with Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther  Muna, CNMI Covid-19 Task Force Chair Warren Villagomez, the governor’s authorised representative for the Covid-19 disaster Patrick Guerrero, Homeland Security special assistant Gerald Deleon Guerrero, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Dennis Mendiola, the Office of the Attorney General, as well as other medical professionals.

“I know that there have been a lot of concerns in the community about the number of increased positive cases, as well as [persons under investigation, or PUIs] … We will be disseminating, as well as perhaps even doing a massive test throughout the island. We are working on sending antigen [testing] to Rota and Tinian as well. Our goal is to do a mass community-based [antigen] testing,” said the governor.

He added, “We have been prepared since day one. We expected this to increase sometime down the road. One thing that I believe that we have done an excellent job in is making sure that everyone is vaccinated, as much as we [could]. We had the success rate of the Road to 80 [vaccination campaign]. We are at 85 percent. It makes us a very big difference with any other territory, or in the nation. Knowing that we are [over] 85 percent… makes our community a lot safer, knowing the fact that those numbers have increased in the last month or so,” said the governor.

“Again, if you look at the numbers – and I think that this is really important. We were discussing this with the [CHCC] CEO, the number of patients that have tested positive [and] have walked out [of recovery and] that have also been vaccinated, there… is a good percentage because we have a high number of vaccinations and our effort to get our community vaccinated is what’s helping us maintain a low number of fatalities.”

All non-essential government offices will be closed, with their employees advised to stay home for the next 14 days.

All department and activity heads have been advised to facilitate teleworking and timekeeping within their offices, divisions, and agencies during this government stay-at-home order.

Certain essential government offices will be open to the public on a limited basis, including the Division of Revenue and Taxation and the CNMI Treasury.

Essential services involved in law enforcement, public safety, and public health will continue to fully operate.

Face masks are required in all public indoor spaces, including, but not limited to, common areas of apartment buildings and offices, gyms, shops, cultural facilities, restaurants, bars, and night clubs.

Face masks are not required while seated at a food service establishment or actively eating or drinking.

Signage is required to be placed at all entrances indicating that face masks are required inside your facility.

Curfew Hours are now from 12 am to 4 am.

Exceptions to curfew hours remain:

•First responders while in performance of their official duties and displaying a Covid-19 Task Force-issued badge

•Any person lawfully employed during the Curfew hours or is in direct route of going to or returning from their place of employment

•Any person going to or returning from admission to the CHCC hospital or completion of treatment such as hemodialysis.

All indoor events must limit attendance to 50 percent of allowed occupancy, unless vaccination verification or negative test verification is done by the event organiser or establishment owner, in which case 100 percent occupancy is allowable…. PACNEWS

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