‘CNMI likely to follow US lead’


Effective last Sunday, the United States completely lifted its policy of requiring all incoming international travelers to submit a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding and the CNMI will likely follow suit.

According to a brief statement from Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. spokesperson Guillermo Lifoifoi, it is nearly a guarantee that the CNMI, like the United States, will completely lift the need for a negative COVID-19 test result for unvaccinated international travelers.

“[This is] highly likely as we act in accordance with U.S. policies,” he said.

According to international media outlets, the United States’ international testing policies came to an end last June 12.

Currently, inbound international travelers are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure for Saipan.

As for COVID-19 safety protocols in the CNMI, the CNMI has since lifted the need for on-arrival COVID-19 testing; fifth day testing remains optional for vaccinated travelers.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers must still fill out a health declaration form before entering the CNMI but, unlike vaccinated travelers, unvaccinated individuals will be given a registration code for fifth day testing.

“All travelers must fill out a health declaration form before they enter the CNMI. But unvaccinated travelers must test after five days. Once they register to fill out a declaration form, they will be given a code that registers them for fifth day testing,” CHCC CEO Esther Muña said in a previous interview.

Vaccinated essential workers are no longer quarantined but unvaccinated workers must fill out a quarantine application form before entering the CNMI.

“There is now an essential worker application form for quarantine but this only applies to unvaccinated workers. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine. Once they enter, they are free to leave and go to work,” Muña had said.

According to Dr. Lily Muldoon, medical director of public health and CHCC emergency physician, the shift in protocols is to focus on medically significant community infections instead of border surveillance.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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