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Marshalls prepare for COVID

Travelling to the Marshall Islands will become easier after the government announced its intention to reduce quarantine time from October this year.

But the local population fear that once the changes take place, the virus will spread through the population which has remained untouched by the pandemic.

Anyone entering the island nation is required to undergo a 14 day quarantine in government managed facilities. This way the positive cases remain confined to the quarantine facilities.

According to the proposed changes, from October, people can isolate on their own and the quarantine days have been reduced to just five days.

By no means is the Marshall Islands a tourism powerhouse, with the country receiving less than 5000 visitors annually, however its connection to the US ensures it remains on the radar for many Americans.

Travelling to the Marshall Islands will become easier after the government announced its intention to reduce quarantine time from October this year. Picture – Cynthia D Twitter

The government managed quarantine facilities are proving to be costly. The Marshall Islands have been doing this for two and half years but the visitor arrivals including the repatriation have been easy to manage.

The nation has remained one of the 18 countries in the world that have been declared COVID free in relation to community transmissions.

Marshall Islands President David Kabua has called on Marshallese to get vaccinated as the change could spell community cases.

“This vaccination inoculation target still has not been achieved, and will most likely not be met before 1 October, but projections for the coming months forecast an increase in this vaccination coverage,” said a government statement.

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“The Cabinet approved the Roadmap, a living document that will serve as a guideline for the Marshall Islands government and as an information tool for the general public.”

Anyone wanting to come to Marshall Islands now and after October 1 must be fully vaccinated and show a negative COVID PRC test within 24 hours of their flight and receive a rapid antigen test on arrival in the country. After October, inbound people are required to quarantine in their homes for five days, with a COVID rapid antigen test on day five.

Vaccination in the Marshall Islands continues as there are plans to change quarantine rules. Picture- Republic of Marshall Islands.

The United States Centre for Disease Control forecasted that based on the experience in other US affiliated islands, that one in four residents of the Marshall Islands will be infected in the first wave and there will be a predicted 30 deaths.

Federated States of Micronesia which neighbours the Marshall Islands will open its international borders on August 1. This allows the Marshall Islands time to observe what transpires in the FSM, which like the Marshall Islands have had zero community cases, and prepare from there.

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