Vaccinated Travelers to Hawaii Can Soon Bypass Quarantine
Hawaii Governor David Ige has officially announced plans for a vaccine passport program that could roll out as early as May for inter-island travel and expand to out-of-state travelers by summer. The announcement came as part of the latest emergency proclamation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Vaccinated travelers will be allowed to bypass mandatory quarantine upon arriving to the state. People who are fully vaccinated would be able to avoid coronavirus testing and quarantine by uploading valid vaccination documents to the Safe Travels Program or showing documents in person. Unvaccinated travelers can also avoid the state’s mandatory quarantine if they upload a negative Covid test administered within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.
The CDC said earlier this month that fully vaccinated people could travel within the U.S. without getting tested or self-quarantining, but CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urged caution at the time of that announcement. She said she would “advocate against general travel overall” given the rising number of infections across the U.S.
New Maui Requirements
While the rest of the state might become more accessible, Maui will soon require second coronavirus tests for trans-Pacific travelers flying directly to the island.
In addition to the current state-required pre-travel tests, people flying into Maui County from outside Hawaii will now be required to get negative coronavirus tests when arriving at the Kahului Airport to avoid quarantine, Mayor Michael Victorino told reporters last week. People who refuse either test will be required to quarantine for 10 days in Maui.
“This secondary test has been designed to determine if visitors and returning residents are contributing to the large rate of COVID-19 here in Maui,” Victorino said.
A study conducted in November by Maui health officials found that two out of every 281 travelers who consented to second, follow-up coronavirus tests at the airport tested positive, the Maui News reported.
Covid in Hawaii
Hawaii has more than 31,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began last year, including 468 deaths.
More than 114million people, or 34.5% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 68 million people, or 20.5% of the population, have completed their vaccination.