‘Continued detections at airport keep us on our toes’


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Friday they are worried about several inbound passengers being confirmed positive for COVID-19 at the Francisco Ada/Saipan International Airport in the past few weeks, but this only proves that the screening system is working and that they are comfortable with their protocols.

Asked during his regular press briefing about several individuals identified by travel screening at the airport and confirmed positive through testing, Torres said they are worried for the whole community and that’s what keeps them on their toes because they are not complacent.

“We understand that every flight there’s a possibility to have a spread in the CNMI if we don’t take care of the border. And that’s why we continue to praise our first responders,” he said.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. reported yesterday that two individuals were confirmed positive for COVID-19 after they were identified by travel screening and confirmed through fifth-day testing and testing on arrival on Monday. The two new cases bring the CNMI’s total to 265 cases since March 28, 2020.

Torres said members of COVID-19 Task Force are literally on top of every flight as they treat every passenger the same when it comes to the screening protocols.

He said he is very confident in the first responders and the protocols that are in place because they continue to maintain the same concerns every flight. The governor said they also don’t hesitate to make changes to the quarantine rules if they need to.

Torres said he has also been talking to CHCC chief executive officer Esther L. Muna in making sure that they take these quarantine protocols seriously and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirements and recommendations.

“We do what we need to do to save every individual here in the CNMI. And that’s not about convenience,” he said. “Again, we’re always concerned about community spread. And that’s why we’re always on our toes to make sure that we do that—cover our frontline, which is the airport.”

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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