PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On September 6th, 2021, and per the advice of the COVID-19 Task Force, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)— extended the mandatory Guam-based pre-quarantine for repatriating citizens and residents to ten (10) days from its previous requirement of seven (7) days.
The decision cited concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19, which has resulted in mobile morgues in the U.S. State of Hawaii and the installation of medical tents in the U.S. Territory of Guam due to hospital overflow. The extension of the mandatory pre-quarantine, crucially, allows for the FSM National Government to implement two COVID-19 tests to repatriating persons prior to their arrival into the FSM. Previously, such repatriating persons only required a single COVID-19 test whilst in pre-quarantine.
“The primary reason for extending pre-quarantine to ten (10) days instead of seven (7) is to give us ample time to conduct two (2) COVID-19 tests to repatriating persons before they come into the country,” President Panuelo said in a statement. “Guam is significantly more vaccinated than the FSM, and is equipped with superior resources, and yet our Guamanian brothers and sisters are finding the Delta variant extraordinarily challenging. The takeaway for us in the FSM, then, is to strengthen our efforts at keeping COVID-19 out of our country. Our Nation’s top medical experts suggest that the way to keep ourselves safe is to mandate a second test in pre-quarantine. Simply canceling repatriation flights is not politically or economically feasible because the results would mean numerous schools shutting down, infrastructure projects being lost, and assets for tackling illegal fishing being shifted elsewhere.”
All other requirements for repatriation into the FSM remain unchanged, such as possession of documentary evidence of persons being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the submission of appropriate forms.
Two repatriation flights are scheduled to arrive from the U.S. Territory of Guam to the State of Pohnpei on September 16th and September 30th, 2021, respectively. The latter of these flights is predominantly focused on essential workers such as doctors, engineers, and teachers. The States of Yap and Kosrae have described their intentions for a repatriation flight during the month of September but the dates for those flights are to be determined. The State of Chuuk has described that it may be prepared for its first direct repatriation flight sometime in the month of October, 2021.
As of September 6th, 2021, precisely 560 persons have been repatriated into the Nation. Of this number, 485 persons have been repatriated into the FSM through initial arrival into Pohnpei State; 38 persons have been repatriated into the FSM through initial arrival into Kosrae State; and 37 persons have been repatriated into the FSM through initial arrival into Yap State.
As of September 6th, 2021, approximately 60% of the Nation’s adult population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and approximately 70% of the Nation’s adult population is partially vaccinated.
The FSM remains COVID-19 free.