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Governor sees changes in tourism industry

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IN light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres believes that the CNMI tourism industry will change.

“I honestly don’t foresee our tourism industry opening up for the next several months…but I do know that we’ve done so much preventive and precautionary measures that the industry is going to change,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

“Even if we were Covid-19 free in the next month or two, we wouldn’t see [our] tourism numbers go up as our industry relies on the Asian market where traveling will probably remain restricted,” Torres added.

He said the Marianas Visitors Authority is already planning ahead. “Once we open our borders again, we want to have our own test kits here and mandate that every incoming visitor must be tested on island so that the CNMI can still be viewed as a safe and beautiful destination.”

Flatten the curve

The governor at the same time reiterated the need to comply with the social-distancing directives. “If we do our share, then we can flatten the curve…. We have been working hard with the Covid-19 Task Force to stop the spread, but every new case is a reminder that the coronavirus is still out there and that none of us can let our guards down.”

As of April 14, 2020, the CNMI had 13 confirmed Covid-19 cases and two deaths.

As for the 20,000 test kits that arrived Monday evening from South Korea, Torres said it is the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. that will decide who will be tested and how they will be tested.

“Anybody who needs to be tested, we are ready 100 percent for it,” Torres added.

He said the CNMI government ordered a total of 60,000 test kits so there will be more of them arriving soon. The test kits were locally funded, but “but we will request reimbursements from FEMA,” he added, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He did not mention the cost of the test kits.

Torres also thanked Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for her assistance and help. “I want the CNMI community to know that all of our specimens that we’ve sent to Guam have been prioritized despite all the challenges that they are also going through there — they are making sure that specimens that we sent are addressed and given back to us in a very expeditious fashion,” Torres said. He added that the CNMI, for its part, is also “always ready to help” Guam.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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