Hawaii’s Gov. David Ige issued a mandatory 14-day quarantine Saturday for people arriving or returning to the state, to help curb the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
Saturday, Ige posted the announcement on his Twitter page along with the order’s details.
MARCH 21, 2020: Today I issued a second supplemental emergency proclamation (https://t.co/nCAmi6Jh8f) ordering ALL individuals, both residents and visitors, arriving or returning to the State of Hawaiʻi to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/FQczZ4d0J9
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) March 22, 2020
The mandate is the first such action in the nation, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“With the majority of Hawaiʻi’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, adding, “This plan was developed in collaboration with our county mayors and Hawaiʻi’s business, community and visitor industry leaders.”
The order requires those traveling through the state’s airports to proceed directly to a quarantine location identified and affirmed by the individual upon arrival.
Residents must quarantine themselves in their homes and visitors must stay inside their hotel rooms or rented lodgings. They may only leave their quarantine location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
“Failure to follow this order is a misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. Enforcement will be handled by each of Hawaiʻi’s four counties,” the order read.
Saturday, the state announced 11 new cases of the coronavirus, which brought the total number to 48, according to Hawaii News Now.
When asked why he had not instituted a broader shutdown or shelter-in-place order, Ige said it was an option if the virus continued to spread.
“Mandatory staying in your homes is an extreme measure that we may implement here. But it really is appropriate when there is widespread community spread of the virus,” he commented.
However, Ige added that it was in everyone’s best interest to voluntarily self-isolate for the time being.
“We can do that. We all need to take action that we have within our powers to self-isolate,” he concluded.
The mandate is set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.