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In rare rebuke of state’s COVID response, Kahele offers 10-point plan to rein in surge

In a video timed for the Legislature’s opening Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele issued a 10-point plan that he said will curb the ongoing COVID surge.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:14 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 5:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a video and news release timed for the Legislature’s opening Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele issued a 10-point plan that he said will curb the ongoing COVID surge by encouraging more people to get boosted and by improving safety in the schools and workplace.

Before the Omicron surge, Kahele said the state appeared to have a good handle on the virus. It had one of the nation’s lowest infection rates and billions in federal money to combat the disease.

“However, indecisiveness, lack of a statewide plan and failure to have the foresight to prepare of a resurgence of the virus and deadly variants have cost us all greatly,” said Kahele, D-Hawaii.

“It is clear to me that we have squandered the opportunity to prepare the state for a new normal life with COVID.”

His plan calls for more rules requiring booster shots.

“This requirement must be in place for all in-door events to include in-door dining,” he said.

He also said travelers ― regardless of their vaccination status ― should now be tested when arriving and leaving the state.

Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that the state isn’t ready for that yet.

“There are lots of logistics and details that need to be ready. You know we were already seeing staffing shortages like many are seeing all across the state. We have been unable to hire all the people we need to implement the Safe Travels program,” he said.

Colin Moore, a University of Hawaii political science professor, said Kahele’s plan is a rare Congressional rebuke of the governor’s COVID response.

“This is obviously critical of the Ige administration. He talks about indecisiveness. He says ... the state squandered the opportunity to prepare,” said Moore.

But after two years of the pandemic, Moore doubts that the many in the public will accept Kahele’s strict approach.

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