Pohnpei readying itself to allow repatriation

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

March 9, 2021

11Pohnpei—Pohnpei’s Governor Reed Oliver has signed the first amendment to the Constitutional Emergency regarding COVID-19.  Citing “recent medical development measures such as effective vaccination and reliable laboratory testing,” the amendment, continuing all prior measures gives the first indication that Pohnpei is preparing for repatriation measures.

“Exceptions with respect to International travel may be granted on a case-by-case basis for admittance into the State of Pohnpei” and adds one more class of travelers who may be accepted to arrive in Pohnpei once the FSM government allows for it.  According to the new amendment, people who have a certificate of qualified entry into the State of Pohnpei, have provided a copy of their passport bio page, have a copy of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, and a copy of a COVID-19 vaccination record if available can potentially be accepted to arrive in Pohnpei.

“Admittance into the State of Pohnpei pursuant to the exceptions specified in Sub-paragraph (iii) immediately above in this Constitutional Emergency Order shall be premised upon prior favorable advice, assessment and recommendation by the Pohnpei COVID-19 Emergency Task Force, in consultation with the FSM COVID-19 Emergency Task Force, and subject to all screening, detection, quarantine, and isolation procedures and protocols of the State of Pohnpei,” it says.

I continues, saying, “Persons seeking the use of one of the exceptions…shall first obtain, prior to the commencement of travel to the State of Pohnpei, a written "Certificate of Qualified Entry into the State of Pohnpei" which shall be issued by the Director of the Pohnpei Department of Health Services for that specific individual; PROVIDED that the Director may issue said certificate to the respective person qualified to enter the State of Pohnpei in digital form over a secure internet server; PROVIDED FURTHER that the Director…shall ensure that there is sufficient room at the Emergency Medical Unit and/or the State's Medical Monitoring Area to accommodate the incoming travelers,” it says.

The amended Constitutional Emergency Order will be valid for 30 days beginning March 10, 2021 unless amended sooner.

Another indication that Pohnpei State is getting to the point of readiness to allow some repatriation of its citizens and others is work that has recently been completed in Dekehtik on additional isolation units, quarantine spaces and mobile hospital tents.

The new tent hospital currently has a 30-bed capacity with three separate wings and air conditioning.  The quarantine container units are lined up, with air conditioning, electricity, and plumbing already installed.  Ten units were donated from the People's Republic of China.  Pohnpei State Government provided 30 container units for 25 single units and five family sized units.

“With the setup and completion of the MMA in Dekehtik, Pohnpei State is standing by to work with the National Government to repatriate the first batch of citizens from abroad,” the government’s press release on the completion of the new facilities said.