Sen. Paul A. Manglona (Ind-Rota) has sought assistance from the COVID-19 Task Force in providing guidelines and testing accommodation on Rota for Rota-bound CNMI resident travelers from Guam who have been fully vaccinated in the CNMI.
In his letter last Friday to COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, Manglona said that, with the proper training and tools, a testing site on Rota is attainable and fully vaccinated CNMI residents may easily travel to Rota, especially returning Rota residents.
“Just so that we are on the same page, this is not a request for a quarantine facility or testing laboratory on Rota,” he told Villagomez.
Last March, Villagomez said the task force is proactive on the Rota border because of the island’s proximity to Guam, where the pandemic’s vulnerability level is still very concerning to the task force.
Manglona said he understands that new entry regulations that allow fully vaccinated travelers to move freely in the CNMI without monitoring and quarantine was put in place last April 29.
Manglona said as the COVID-19 Task Force eases the quarantine restrictions in the CNMI, he would like to know if the task force has any plans to provide a testing facility or site on Rota for fully vaccinated CNMI residents traveling to Rota from Guam via ocean vessels or airplane, in the event Star Marianas Air resumes direct passenger flights to Rota from Guam.
The senator said since the beginning of the pandemic, all passengers from Guam traveling to Rota have to first fly to Saipan because of the lack of a quarantine facility on Rota.
As a result, he said, Star Marianas Air ceased their Guam flight operations since early last year.
“Unlike in the early stages of the pandemic, Rota residents are no longer assisted after undergoing quarantine on Saipan with their air transportation costs from Saipan to Rota,” he said.
Further, Manglona said, Rota residents who travel back and forth between Guam and the CNMI by boat on a regular basis have to travel to Saipan first to get tested and quarantined. “This has added to the economic hardship that Rota residents are already facing,” the senator said.