Hawaii governor orders mandatory quarantines for arriving travelers

Hawaii governor orders mandatory quarantines for arriving travelers
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) is imposing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers arriving in the state as part of an effort to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 

“With the majority of Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases linked to travel, it is critical that we further mitigate the spread of the virus by both residents and visitors who are coming from out-of-state,” Ige said in a statement on Saturday. “This plan was developed in collaboration with our county mayors and Hawaii’s business, community and visitor industry leaders.”

The emergency proclamation, which is set to go into effect on Thursday, will apply to all arrivals from the U.S. and international destinations, including Hawaii residents. Residents will be required to quarantine in their homes, while visitors will be allowed to quarantine in their hotel rooms or rented lodging. 

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Individuals under quarantine will be permitted to leave their residence only to seek medical care. They are prohibited from entering any public spaces during the two-week time frame and could face misdemeanor charges if they violate the orders, the governor's office said. 

The charge could result in a maximum fine of $5,000, imprisonment of not more than a year or both, the office said. 

"These actions are extreme, but they will help flatten the curve and lay the groundwork for a quicker recovery," Ige said. "We need everyone to comply with these quarantine orders to help protect Hawaiʻi’s residents."

The novel coronavirus, which first appeared in China in December, has infected more than 308,127 people worldwide, including roughly 26,700 individuals in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins University database. Hawaii had reported 48 confirmed cases of the virus as of Sunday morning. 

The rapid spread of the disease has led numerous states and cities to impose draconian measures designed to prevent mass gatherings and slow an outbreak. California last Thursday became the first state to impose a "shelter-in-place" order. Other states, including New York and Illinois, have since issued similar mandates for their residents.