About 500 servicemembers aboard USS Frank Cable, an Emory S. Land-class submarine tender that is docked at the Port of Saipan, are ready to set foot on the island after a five-day quarantine on the ship, according to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and CNMI COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez on Friday.
Speaking at his regular radio news briefing, Torres said there are two vessels in the Saipan Lagoon and both will be here for a few weeks. Torres and Villagomez, however, only named the USS Frank Cable and not the submarine.
The governor said there are some soldiers who will be in the area for at least a week or so.
Torres also noted that beginning Nov. 8, 2021, the U.S. government will be lifting some restrictions for foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Villagomez confirmed that this is pursuant to President Joe Biden’s recent directive.
The Biden administration announced that the travel restrictions the U.S. imposed because of the pandemic will be partially lifted for 33 countries on Nov. 8. The new policy, however, will require foreign national travelers from these counties to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Villagomez said the 500 soldiers from USS Frank Cable are on quarantine on the ship and are just awaiting their fifth day COVID-19 test results.
As soon as they are cleared and safe, they will be setting foot on the island and spending some R&R (rest and recreation) on Saipan, he added.
“That’s good for the island’s economy,” he said.
Villagomez said all DOD personnel that go to Tinian are also made to go through the CNMI COVID-Task Force process.
Torres said there’s a protocol that needs to be followed for people coming in as residents or for business and tourist purposes, whether they are vaccinated, unvaccinated, or on a travel bubble program.
“There is a system for you,” the governor said, adding that it is important to follow those guidelines.