Atalig recommends testing inbound passengers prior to entering Rota

File photo shows a beach on the island of Rota.

File photo shows a beach on the island of Rota. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Concerned over the increasing number of COVID-19 cases on Saipan, Rota Mayor Efraim M. Atalig highly recommends immediately implementing a protocol of testing all inbound passengers from Saipan and Tinian 72 hours prior to boarding any flights or vessels entering Rota.

In a letter to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres last Friday, Atalig said this will prevent boarding of infected individuals who could infect the community of Rota.

Efraim Atalig


“I stand ready to utilize any resources within the scope of my powers as mayor to assist with coordinating and planning to ensure the safety and security of the community of Rota,” he said.

Ninety-five additional individuals have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 from surveillance testing on Friday, bringing the CNMI total to 787 cases since March 28, 2020.

Rota has had no COVID-19 cases yet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Census results for the CNMI, there were 2,527 people on Rota in 2010 and 1,893 in 2020.

As mayor of Rota, Atalig said, it is his fiduciary responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of the community.

Believing that the CNMI is “losing valuable time in prevention and protection implementations” against the pandemic, the mayor asked Torres for his immediate attention and action on this serious matter.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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