Ige: Delay international military drill over virus

  • Marines land at Kawaihae Harbor aboard a Navy landing craft for RIMPAC in 2018. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday he will ask the U.S. military to postpone the world’s largest maritime exercises because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ige said at a news conference he would send a letter to Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, requesting that the Rim of the Pacific drills be postponed “until the COVID-19 situation here in the islands subsides.” The drills were scheduled to be held in Hawaii during the summer.

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The U.S. has more cases of the coronavirus than any other country. South Korea and Japan, major participants in the exercise, are also among the countries that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Hawaii has 319 confirmed cases of the disease, an increase of 34 over the past 24 hours. Three people infected by the virus have died in Hawaii while 18 have been hospitalized.

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In the U.S., at least 277,828 people had tested positive for the disease, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

The Rim of the Pacific — or RIMPAC — exercises are held in Hawaii every two years. They brought 46 surface ships and 25,000 personnel from 25 nations to the islands in 2018. The exercises began in 1971.

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