13 Aug 2020

High-risk designation irks CNMI, while Fiji seen as low risk

4:26 pm on 13 August 2020

A high risk designation from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is being disputed by the top health authority in the Northern Marianas.

Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive, Esther Muña, said CDC's designation was inaccurate.

Esther Muña

Esther Muña Photo: Supplied

Ms Muña wrote to the CDC seeking clarification behind the high-risk travel health advisory.

Aside from the CNMI, Guam and other US-affiliated Pacific islands like American Samoa, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia were also designated a high risk for the coronavirus by CDC.

While Guam's positive rate was 1.6 percent out of 23,840 tests, the rate in the CNMI was at 0.1 percent with just over 26 percent of the population having been tested.

CDC data showed the US had a higher positive rate, at around 8.7 percent from a population of 328.2 million.

As of this week Guam has had 445 cases of Covid-19, the CNMI had 49, while the other US affiliates had none.

Fiji declared low risk

Meanwhile Fiji had been declared a low risk country for travel according to the same agency.

While the US global health Covid-19 travel advisory urged Americans to avoid all international travel, it said countries like Fiji, New Zealand and Thailand were categorised as low-risk by the CDC.

The centre recommended those at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 should talk to their healthcare providers before travelling to Fiji.

"Covid-19 risk in Fiji is low. Over the last 28 days, new cases of Covid-19 in Fiji decreased or stabilised."

The CDC said policies in Fiji may require US travellers to be tested for the coronavirus before being allowed to enter the country.

"If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time.

"You may even be prevented from returning to the United States as scheduled. You might consider getting tested before your trip."

Meanwhile, Fiji's Health Ministry said there were seven active Covid-cases in the country, all of them from border quarantine and stable in hospital.