Published: Thursday, 23 April 2020 23:39
Written by Bill Jaynes
An opinion by Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
March 31, 2020
Pohnpei—Due to the insidious threat of COVID-19 that has engulfed the world, official Pohnpei and FSM Cultural Day events were canceled this year. While it is vital that we all remain safe as the threat looms over the nation, one can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia at what was temporarily lost.
All too many people seem not to be taking the threat seriously and are stridently continuing to gather in large groups such as at church services, sakau markets, and in other places. With school canceled, many students are still assembling in large groups of their friends, roaming from place to place. People are still sharing betel nut and are still spitting in the streets. But it is vital to everyone that we ALL realize the seriousness of the threat and take directed precautions such as diligent hand washing. You may be young and healthy and you may think that you are invulnerable but not all of us are. To date 69,309 people have died from this terrible virus. Nearly 1.3 million people have been diagnosed with a certainty as having the disease but no one knows how many millions of people have either not yet showed symptoms who will eventually get the disease or who are carriers who will never display symptoms.
We just don’t know, and perhaps, the not knowing is the scariest part of all. I have seen written opinions saying that we are perfectly safe since the government has shut down the borders. But we can’t know that and to assume that is true is to throw caution to the wind like so much confetti.
If you don’t care about yourself, please show care for the other people on your island by heeding what is for now only a strong recommendation from the government rather than a directive. Don’t count on someone else. Do it yourself. There may yet come a day when the government will be forced to lock down by directive.
There WILL come a day when we can once again gather together, and that will be a joyful day. For now, we have our memories and anticipation of things that will one day come again. Meanwhile, enjoy some photos of happier days and smile.
Published: Thursday, 23 April 2020 23:14
Written by Bill Jaynes
FSM Information Services
Message from the President
My fellow Micronesians,
Mogethin, Ran annim, Len wo, and Kaselehlie.
As I near the end of my 14-day quarantine period and reflect upon today being the two-month anniversary of our original Public Health Emergency Declaration on January 31st, and as our Nation witnesses ever-changing daily norms at home and abroad, it strikes me as appropriate that we review where our canoe is today and where we imagine our canoe might be going in the near future over the course of these challenging times during this COVID-19 coronavirus Pandemic.
Let us firstly review our accomplishments immediately followed by our intentions, for the former are many and the latter are plentiful still. As of today, March 31st 2020, the Federated States of Micronesia remains COVID-19 free. Nor do we have any Persons Under Investigation at present. This is at least partly the result of dedicated stewardship across all levels of our society, from the Executive and Legislative Branches of the National Government to the respective State Governments and even at the municipal level. In particular, our Department of Health & Social Affairs and the FSM COVID-19 Task Force, along with the respective State Departments of Health
& State COVID-19 Task Forces, have shown exemplary professionalism and a patriotic sense of duty in carrying out their solemn mission to protect the health and wellbeing of our Nation’s citizens and residents.
Our collective Task Forces have been working in coordination and around the clock to ensure our Nation’s safety. In the coming weeks, I look forward to illuminating you all on what this looks like in terms of financial support from our friends, allies, and development partners. In the meantime, I have consented to our States’ requests to largely prohibit the disembarkation of aircraft passengers from international commercial carriers until additional quarantine facilities and isolation facilities are adequately developed.
Further, I am proud to tell you that I have very reliable information that in the coming weeks our Nation will acquire the capacity to test for COVID-19 within our Nation’s borders. I have demanded this, and we are committed to taking every action necessary to ensure its occurrence.
I recognize and appreciate that there are some who would seek to criticize the efforts of our travel restriction and quarantine processes. I would suggest to those critics to be mindful that every expert was once a beginner, and that if we measure success as the prevention of COVID-19 in reaching our shores, and the development of contingency plans for its arrival, that we have met, and continue to meet, these metrics. Pessimism, like misery, is fond of company—but it wins no friends just as it wins no battles. Our collective leadership across the Nation is committed to winning this battle against COVID-19 for you, your family, and your country. But we cannot do it alone: we need you to join us.
Your Government, far from being a single entity that is separate from you, is all around you—for we are you, just as you are us. We are your brothers, your sisters, and your neighbors. So too, then, do we need you just as you need us. I call upon your continued participation in endeavors such as social distancing and superior hygiene practices to ensure our Nation’s long-term success against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Wash your hands; avoid large social gatherings; and, above all, maintain your Micronesian sense of empathy and compassion for your fellows. You are I as I am you. To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.