Japan adds Hawaii to list of safe travel destinations

Japan adds Hawaii to list of safe travel destinations
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Japan has added the state of Hawaii to its list of safe travel destinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) cheered the listing in an announcement this week. Others destinations on Japan's safe list include China, South Korea, Taiwan and nations in Europe.

Hawaii, which has a small number of coronavirus cases compared to the rest of the U.S., is the only part of the country that Japan recommends travelers visit at this time.

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The state’s economy relies heavily on tourist revenue, which has been devastated since the start of the pandemic.

“It’s important that we restore travel between Japan and Hawai'i and we see this program as a way to make this possible, while also preventing the further spread of infections from COVID- 19,” Ige said in a statement.

Details of a Japan-Hawaii safe travel program have not yet been finalized. Ige said “public health will be the overriding factor” in determining the requirement, and the Associated Press reported that a negative coronavirus test will likely be required of travelers. 

“Providing safe travel for both residents and visitors is vital to strengthening our state’s economic health and long-term recovery,” Ige said. “Protecting the public’s health will always be our first priority and the foundation for which any economic recovery program is built upon, including trans-Pacific travel.”

Last month, the European Union left the U.S. off a list of 15 countries whose residents are now allowed to travel to Europe as nations begin to lift COVID-19 restrictions.

The U.S. has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world and in recent weeks has seen serious spikes in multiple states including Florida, Texas and California.