Hawaii travelers to complete mandatory online application

Hawaii travelers to complete mandatory online application
This photo shows the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, where travelers are growing increasingly concerned over the coronavirus outbreak. (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (AP) — Travelers to Hawaii will be required to complete an online form including health and travel information to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

The Safe Travels software application is scheduled to become mandatory for transpacific travelers beginning Tuesday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Arriving passengers will be required to complete the online application, which will then produce a QR code for each traveler that is similar to a bar code used for purchases.

Screeners at state airports will use iPads to read the codes and quickly review passenger information to determine if they should be cleared for entry or recommended for secondary screening.

Visitors may use email, Google or Facebook logins to access the app, which is maintained by Google cloud technology.

Travelers without smartphones or computers may ask family or friends for help, or receive assistance upon arriving at an airport, state officials said.

Passengers will be required to already have email addresses or create new ones to comply with the system.

A mandatory 14-day quarantine remains in effect for out-of-state travelers in an attempt to reduce coronavirus spread. A partial interisland quarantine was reinstated Aug. 11.

State officials including police can use information submitted to the Safe Travels app to check on visitors who are required to quarantine upon arrival.

The app also generates quarantine check-in reminders as emails and text messages, which also enable the state Department of Health to contact visitors regarding medical issues.

Safe Travels is expected to simplify a paper-based process that currently requires different forms for interisland and trans-Pacific travel.

The application is not enabled to use GPS tracking to locate visitor phones or computers. State Chief Information Officer Doug Murdock said that feature remains under review.

All Hawaii airports receiving flights from outside the state are already operating thermal cameras to screen travelers for coronavirus symptoms, officials said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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