‘Despite new virus, NMI still open to tourists’

Posted on Jan 24 2020


The Marianas Visitors Authority still encourages tourists from China to visit the CNMI despite the recent outbreak of a new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, from Wuhan, China that has left nine dead.

In an interview with MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo, she said MVA wants to continue to welcome tourists, even from China, despite the viral outbreak.

“Of course, MVA is concerned because the outbreak started in Wuhan, China and, with our Chinese visitors, we want to make sure that that virus does not come into the CNMI. …We want to remain a low-risk destination and we want to continue to welcome tourists,” she said.

Iakopo said MVA has partnered with the Division of Public Health at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to spread awareness about 2019-nCoV.

“With our partnership with public health and the hospital’s preparedness program, and other agencies as well, we are spreading awareness and educating our community in what to do and what not to do, where to go and where to stay away from for a little bit,” Iakopo said.

According to a CHCC statement, symptoms of 2019-nCoV include fever, and symptoms associated with lower respiratory illness such as coughing and difficulty breathing.

It was recently discovered that 2019-nCoV can be spread from person to person thorough coughing and sneezing, similar to how the flu is spread.

The spread of the virus can be combated with good hygiene practices like washing one’s hands often with soap and water for at least, 20 seconds, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with sick people.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista 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 kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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