CNMI not closing borders yet despite more Covid cases

1:30 pm on 31 August 2020

The Northern Marianas remains open to arrivals despite two more passengers testing positive for Covid-19.

Passengers and flight crew who slept on a grounded United Airlines plane (rear) because of a Marshall Islands Covid-19 ban on incoming travelers deplane and walk to a rescue flight that arrived
Majuro shortly before 8am to collect the 124 passengers and flight crew.

United Airlines is currently the lone carrier to fly in and out of the Northern Marianas Photo: Giff Johnson

As a US territory, the CNMI cannot close its borders unilaterally as the authority to stop flights rests solely on the US Federal Aviation Administration.

However, since United Airlines is currently the lone carrier to fly in and out of the islands, the CNMI can make a request to the airline, as they did in April, to stop its Guam-Saipan service for a month.

The Governor's Covid-19 Taskforce has identified a low, steady number of Covid-19 cases from off-island, and says there's no need to stop flights.

The two newest coronavirus cases take the Commonwealth's total to 56 infections.

The were identified by travel screening and confirmed diagnosis through-testing upon arrival and fifth day testing.

The individuals were in quarantine and have now been moved to a designated isolation area.

Contact tracing had begun.

Last Monday, Governor Ralph Torres reinstated some restrictions, including a 10pm to 5am curfew and limiting social gatherings to 10 people.