Test ALL Cruise Ship Passengers for COVID before disembarking at EVERY port in Hawai'i!

Test ALL Cruise Ship Passengers for COVID before disembarking at EVERY port in Hawai'i!

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Laura Ramirez started this petition to Governor David Ige and

The first cruise ships were allowed back into the ports of Hawai'i by the Hawaii Department of Transportation during the peak of the Omicron surge and brought with them active COVID-19 cases to the islands.   

143 passengers just tested positive after returning from a recent trip to Hawai'i on a Princess Cruise in April 2022.
https://t.co/08qymWer0

Cruise ship passengers who spent days sharing common dining and entertainment areas with others in close quarters who have since tested positive and have active cases of the latest highly infectious variant of COVID-19 are now freely entering the ports of Hawai'i and potentially spreading the airborne virus in every restaurant, every shop, every and any tourist attraction that they visit.

Hawaii’s port agreements (modified in October 2021 BEFORE the highly contagious Omicron variant) require cruise ship passengers and crew arriving from out of state to supply proof of COVID-19 vaccination (which we now know DOES NOT necessarily stop spread) OR a negative test before disembarking at ONLY their FIRST Hawaii port of call. So any newly developing cases caught either onboard or at previous ports will be overlooked and allowed to spread to other islands. 

The Hawaii Department of Health is relying on the the same outdated requirements that were created before both the highly contagious Delta and Omicron surges when we learned that vaccination does not completely protect against the spread of COVID-19. As posted in their FAQ:

"All passengers and crew members who wish to disembark at any Hawai‘i port of call must be either fully vaccinated OR have a negative COVID-19 test."

In other words, passengers need only show their potentially 6+ month old vaccination status with waning immunity (not even Boosters) and are not required to take a simple rapid test before disembarking.

In the FAQ it says that even if there's an outbreak on the ships they still won't be testing all travelers and only the unvaccinated will be prohibited from disembarking:

"What happens if a COVID-19 case is reported on a cruise ship? All unvaccinated passengers and crew members will not be allowed to disembark in any Hawai‘i port and must follow cruise ship quarantine guidelines."

Meanwhile the CDC Warns Against Cruises, Regardless Of Vaccination Status—because of onboard outbreaks fueled by Omicron variant. The CDC said it has more than 90 cruise ships under investigation or observation as a result of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. CDC increased the Cruise Travel Health Notice to a Level 4, recommending people avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status, in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases occurring on cruise ships in the US and around the world. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3mJubg9

Worse yet, cruise lines will no longer be obliged to follow COVID guidance on ships as outlined by the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which was extended and modified in October (before Omicron) that expired on January 15, 2022. At which point the health agency's COVID guidance for cruise ships will become voluntary. This means cruise lines can choose whether to follow the health agency's guidance or not. 

We demand that the leaders of Hawai'i, Governor Ige, Lt Governor Josh Green, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority do better and more to protect the people of Hawai'i and our already strained and limited healthcare system from COVID-19 by creating a new set of Safe Travel regulations regarding cruise ships. An improved plan that includes rapid testing requirements at every port of call in Hawai'i for ALL travelers regardless of vaccination status must be implemented.  

Senator Kai Kahele understands the importance of protecting Hawai'i and made a statement on January 6th, "Time to modify safe travels: add a booster requirement & Rapid pre-test + post-test before traveling to Hawai’i from any transpacific or international location."

It's time for the rest of the elected officials of Hawai'i to get onboard and represent their constituents who deserve to be heard and protected. This is exactly the kind of public health crisis that the Governor's Emergency Proclamation should be used to address. As the virus mutates rapidly, so the rules to prevent widespread infection must quickly change and adapt to keep up and protect our islands! 

 

 

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