With the drastic decline in international flights, the Commonwealth Ports Authority will limit aircraft landing/flight operations at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport to the hours between 8am and 12pm daily, effective March 27, except for emergencies and COVID-19-related flight operations.
In a memorandum yesterday to the CPA board’s airport operating committee, stakeholders, and airlines, CPA executive director Christopher S. Tenorio said that CPA will also limit aircraft landing/flight operations at the Benjamin T. Manglona Rota International Airport and Tinian International Airport effective tomorrow, Saturday, to the hours between 8am and 12pm daily. Again, except for emergencies and COVID-19-related flights.
CPA also clarified that the authority to suspend travel in and out of the CNMI lies with Homeland Security and not the CNMI government.
This was also pointed out by Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero yesterday. “I know many of you have asked me to ban all flights coming into Guam. I will do anything in my authority to keep our people safe. However, shutting down our airport is not within that authority. What I can do is implement a mandatory quarantine for all incoming passengers,” she said in a statement.
Tenorio said CPA has been receiving many requests to suspend interisland air travel except for cases of emergencies and cargo transportation for commodities and postal services. “These concerns have been raised to Star Marianas and they are taking it under advisement,” Tenorio said.
As of yesterday, CPA reported no scheduled flights arriving from China, Korea, and Japan beginning April 1.
Effective March 27, there will be no direct international flights arriving in the CNMI.
Tenorio said that, pursuant to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ executive order directive 8, all persons who are traveling into the CNMI, who originate from a country with an identified COVID-19 outbreak, including Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland, must exercise self-quarantine for 14 days as recommended by the Commonwealth Health Care Corp.
Upon arrival, Tenorio said, passengers arriving from affected areas will be enrolled in the CHCC COVID-19 illness monitoring system and will be closely monitored.
“This directive does not differentiate between residents or non-residents or citizenship,” he said, adding that this a directive for all travelers to comply.
Returning CNMI citizens transiting through Guam coming from the U.S. mainland will be quarantined—either voluntarily or involuntary—once they leave the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, Tenorio said.
For returning CNMI citizens traveling from Manila and transiting through Guam, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Guam, at the expense of the travelers and the airlines, unless they possess a Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services-certified document that attests they are not infected with the virus. The same is true for those traveling from Manila through Guam; there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Guam at the expense of the travelers and the airlines.
For returning CNMI citizens transiting through Guam and coming from the U.S. mainland, there is a mandatory quarantine period once they leave the Saipan airport.
“Travelers may leave the airport but must self-quarantine at the hotel,” Tenorio said.
For individuals seeking entry into Guam, Tenorio said, effective yesterday, Thursday, nonresidents entering Guam who have spent a week or more in jurisdictions affected by COVID-19 will be subject to quarantine unless they possess a DPHSS-certified document that attest they are not infected with the virus.
Tenorio said nonresidents means any person coming to Guam and plans to stay for a short period of time, who has no family ties to Guam, is not a student, and does not have a work visa or permit.
“Given that we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19, we are not considered to be an affected jurisdiction so there will be no imposition of a quarantine,” he pointed out.