State looks to lift quarantine order for interisland travelers

Coronavirus

The state is looking to lift the 14-day quarantine requirement for interisland travelers. But don’t book those flights yet. Officials say there’s still a lot of work before it can be done safely.

When asked if the quarantine could be lifted within a couple of months, the governor would not commit to a timeline. He says the state has to make sure it has everything in place to be able to spot and track travelers who can spread the virus.

“We have to create a new system of screening of healthcare providers, of being able to test those who we believe are infectious. Most importantly, to be able to isolate them and keep them isolated from infecting others,” said Gov. David Ige.

Officials say new challenges lie ahead that still need to be figured out. Among them, what to do with out-of-state passengers who then fly interisland days after they arrive.

“If they had plans to fly to a neighbor island let’s say, in two days, then that person needed to be flagged and tended with, especially with law enforcement input on that issue,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Spokesman Tim Sakahara.

He says one way to flag them is to check the passengers’ departure date out of Hawaii. He adds that new forms will have to be drawn up with contact information and health-related questions. Those will have to be approved by the state department of health and the state attorney general’s office.

Temperature screenings will still be done at the airports. The state also received $36 million to install thermal screening at airports as an improved way to spot those with a fever. But Sakahara says the pilot project for that is still up to two months away.

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