State to get $90M for coronavirus screening, testing help at airports

State to get $90M for coronavirus screening, testing help at airports
Baggage claims were at a standstill Thursday due to a significant reduction of incoming flights. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state legislature has appropriated $90 million dollars for infrastructure improvements at Hawaii’s airports to help screen arriving passengers for coronavirus, a legislative spokesperson said Friday.

The money, according to the legislature, will be spent on items like thermal screening systems, which can detect passengers who may have a fever ― a common symptom of those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

State officials also intend to use the funds to help handle web-based verification applications and improve testing facilities.

The systems, according to the state, will be installed in the five major airports: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Kahului Airport, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, Hilo International Airport, and Lihue Airport.

"This investment in airport screening protocols will help us reopen tourism in the safest possible manner, screening all travelers and verifying their pre-testing information," said Chair Sylvia Luke. "Because the U.S. Senate has not passed the HEROES Act, we are substituting federal funding from the existing CARES Act in order to move forward with this critical priority."

The state announced earlier this week that starting on August 1, trans-Pacific passengers will be able to avoid the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine by presenting a negative coronavirus test that was taken within 72 of travel.

Restrictions requiring interisland passengers to quarantine for 14-days were removed last week, and Hawaii residents are free to move around the state without quarantining.

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