SAIPAN, 02 MARCH 2020 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — CNMI Lieutenant Governor Arnold I. Palacios on Friday issued a continued declaration of significant emergency with a new directive that includes travelers from South Korea and Japan in the mandatory health screening, among other Covid-19 containment measures.

Executive Order 2020-02 states that the recent rise of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Korea “is particularly worrisome as that is a major tourism source market for the CNMI.”

As stated in the emergency declaration that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres issued in January, Palacios reiterated that the public health threat of a traveler carrying Covid-19 “is significant and cannot be understated.”

The declaration establishes response, quarantine and preventive containment measures concerning the novel coronavirus or Covid-19.

Palacios’ executive order also noted that on 31 January, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending entry in the U.S. including the CNMI, of all aliens, immigrants or non-immigrants who were physically present within People’s Republic of China during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.

By his declaration, Palacios said he intends to direct and instruct the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Customs Division, and the Marianas Visitors Authority to undertake immediate emergency Covid-19 containment measures.

“Such measures may include bolstering staff and resources at airports and seaports in order to screen all arrivals from Japan and South Korea. Such measures may also include working with MVA and the Hotel Association of the NMI to implement Covid-19 surveillance activities at hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other forms of temporary lodging utilized by visitors; requiring visitors from or who have transited through Korea and Japan to provide contact information to CHCC health screeners upon arrival into Saipan; subjecting such visitors to mandatory follow-up with CHCC field staff for assessment of signs of possible Covid-19 infection; and if such signs are identified, subjecting such visitors to a CHCC-administered Covid-19 evaluation period. Any regulation or rule of any Commonwealth agency that could be construed as preventing, hindering or delaying the implementation of the measures outlined in this paragraph are hereby suspended.”

In his report to the agency’s board of directors last week, CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio noted that the number of South Korea’s new coronavirus cases had doubled.

“South Korea has raised its threat level, which allows the South Korean government to lock down cities in an effort to contain the outbreak if needed,” Tenorio said, adding that this presents “more uncertainties for CPA as South Korea is our biggest market.” ……PACNEWS