Hawaii to allow travelers to skip quarantine with coronavirus test
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HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that starting Oct. 15, travelers arriving from out of state may bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement if they test negative for COVID-19.
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Travelers will have to take the test within 72 hours before their flight arrives in the islands. Ige said drug store operator CVS and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente will conduct the tests as part of an agreement with the state.
Earlier this year Ige planned to start a pre-travel testing program on Aug. 1 only to have to postpone it as COVID-19 cases spiked on the U.S. mainland and in Hawaii. A shortage of testing supplies also forced delays. Another start date for Sept. 1 was also canceled. Airlines are expected to help inform travelers of the requirement.
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Hawaii leaders are hopeful that pre-travel testing will encourage people to return to Hawaii in a way that keeps residents safe. Tourism traffic to the state has plunged more than 90% since the pandemic began, forcing hundreds of hotels to close and pushing many people out of work.
"I want to emphasize that this pre-travel testing will allow us to add a greater element of safety for travel into our state," Ige said at a news conference.