Honolulu City Council urges Gov. Ige to require second test, or delay travel plan

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Honolulu Hale File Image(HNN)
Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 3:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Opposition continues to mount against the state’s pre-travel testing plan for mainland and international visitors.

The Honolulu City Council was the latest body to urge Gov. Ige to delay the plan on Tuesday after the unanimous decision to approve Resolution 20-253.

The resolution urges the governor to either implement a two-test system for arriving tourists, or delay the start of the program overall.

The plan — which would allow travelers to skip the 14-day quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test — is set to begin on Oct. 15, despite a lack of specifics on many details.

“There’s too much to lose and we definitely cannot afford a third shutdown, which would be devastating,” Vice Chair Tommy Waters said, who introduced the resolution.

“I’m worried that, under the current plan, people are going to slip through the cracks, meaning contagious people getting off planes and infecting local people. A two-test system would cut down that potential significantly.”

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said this week that Hawaii County was opting out of the travel plan, meaning all arriving passengers would still need to abide by a 14-day quarantine, regardless of a negative test result prior to traveling.

Kauai county previously requested arriving visitors take a second test after landing on the Garden Isle, but Gov. Ige denied that request.

[Read more: Ige denies Kauai’s request to require second negative COVID-19 test for travelers]

In a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Ige showed no signs of pulling the plug on the plan, saying it is a crucial move to jump starting Hawaii’s economy.

Other medical experts still have doubts that a negative test within 72 hours of travel will be effective in catching positive cases.

“Saying one test is going to catch about 80% is just a fallacy, like saying masks don’t work,” board certified emergency medicine physician Dr. Darragh O’Carroll said.

“Infectious disease experts know that it takes three to four days for the virus to get to levels that can be detected, which means that any test during those first three days, even the deep tickle your brain test, is useless,” Dr. O’Carroll added.

This story may be updated.

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