Hawaiian group suggests that travelers get tested for COVID-19 before flying to island

Hawaii is taking COVID-19 prevention very seriously.

As the state continues to map out plans to reopen, one of the biggest questions it faces is how to handle the massive influx of tourists who travel to the state. Some experts believe that requiring a two-test process for all incoming travelers is the answer.

Travelers to Hawaii may be required to be tested for COVID-19 before flying to the island.

Travelers to Hawaii may be required to be tested for COVID-19 before flying to the island. (iStock)

A report by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization calls for requiring passengers to pass multiple tests before flying to Hawaii, Honolulu Civil Beat reports. These tests would include an actual COVID-19 test and then an additional temperature check, both taken before the flight.

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In the report, the authors write, “If Hawaii reopens to tourism, even at 20 percent of previous levels, hundreds of people with active COVID-19 infections can be expected to enter each month. This will make it hard, if not impossible, to maintain our success against this epidemic and may push us past the tipping point.”

According to Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green has been in talks with CVS Pharmacy to set up testing sites across the country, which could be open by mid-July.

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Hawaii implemented a 14-day quarantine for all travelers, even inter-island travel. This has reportedly played a large part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the islands. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has also essentially shut down the tourism industry in Hawaii. Considering that one in six jobs in Hawaii is provided by that industry, many people on the island are anxious to reopen.

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The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization writes that if even only a fraction of the normal number of tourists for the state return, the area could still be exposed to a high number of infected individuals. The group is hoping that by requiring multiple tests, they can prevent most infections from making to the state.