COVID-19 Task Force chairman Warren Villagomez assured the House of Representatives yesterday that the CNMI’s anti-COVID-19 efforts extend all the way up to the Northern Islands in response to Rep. Luis John Castro (R-Saipan) expressing concern whether individuals that go to the islands are subjected to COVID-19 tests prior to their visit.
“There are boats that go up there to deliver provisions and rations to those who are still up [in the Northern Islands]. Of course, we have to make sure that those who go up there are safe from COVID-19 to prevent from bringing it up there,” Castro said. “With these groups that go back and forth between the Northern Islands, has the task force thought about ensuring that they’re properly screened and tested prior to leaving so that way, whatever’s up there, whether it’s in Pagan or any of the other islands are safe?”
Enumerators from the CNMI Census recently went to the Northern Islands to conduct their survey, followed by, just a few days ago, YouTube vlogger Robert Arrington and his crew, along with government officers led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who joined Arrington as part of the vlogger’s promotional expedition in the Northern Islands.
“Be assured that it’s a unilateral, north-south efforts,” Villagomez replied, speaking about the COVID-19 efforts. “We treat the Northern Island, all the way up to Maug, just like Rota and Tinian.”
He said that, as borders are opened for Rota, as an example, “swabbing,” or testing is in place, to make sure that “foremost, those folks that are going out are negative, and make sure they minimize the risk of a spread.”
Villagomez also said that the Census team, as well as the YouTube crew all got tested prior to going to the Northern Islands.