Hawaii Inches Closer to Adopting Alaska Pre-Travel Testing Plan

Hawaii Inches Closer to Adopting Alaska Pre-Travel Testing Plan

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Hawaii May Announce Its Coronavirus Testing Plan in a Few Days, and it's expected to follow Alaska's reopening strategy of urging travelers to take a coronavirus test no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in the state, in order to avoid Hawaii's 14-day mandatory quarantine.

It's reported that Hawaii Governor David Ige has been speaking with his counterpart, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, for several weeks, with particular focus on the results from June 6, when Alaska permitted out-of-state visitors and returning residents to get a PCR coronavirus test, and, if the result is negative, be exempt from Alaska's mandatory 14-day quarantine. Alaska does permit testing on arrival, but it is subject to availability and is not guaranteed, so Alaska's travel entry requirements FAQ explicitly states that travelers are NOT guaranteed a test upon arrival and should have a contingency plan that includes completing a 14-day quarantine if the state isn't able to provide a PCR test on arrival.

About one third of arrivals to Alaska have been providing proof of a negative PCR test, while another one third have been tested at the airport and agreed to quarantine until they receive the results. That still leaves one third who are supposed to complete the full 14-day quarantine, although as in Hawaii, so far there are no state facilities for quarantining, and all travelers have self-quarantined on the honor system.

Hawaii's honor system for the 14-day quarantine has resulted in a number of out-of-state visitors being apprehended, after their hotel or locals have caught them violating quarantine, in at least one case, at the airport, just an hour before the violator's flight back to the mainland. One proposal recommended a Quarantine Hotel that arrivals would be bussed to and that would be enforced by the National Guard, although that would require the state funding.

Currently, Hawaii officials are concerned that some of their primary U.S. markets for travelers, including California and Arizona, are experiencing increasing numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations as they reopen. One of the options being considered is initially opening Hawaii only to states or countries with a similar epidemiological profile of coronavirus cases, as a percent of population, such as Alaska, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and similar.

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