Honolulu City Council urges delaying pre-travel test plan

HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday urged Hawaii’s governor to consider delaying a plan to allow travelers to use a negative COVID-19 test to bypass quarantine until the number of new cases on the U.S. mainland and in Hawaii drop significantly.

The nine-member council unanimously approved a resolution making the request. The document cites a surge in new cases both locally and in California, Texas, Florida and Arizona since Gov. David Ige announced the travel plan on June 24.

The testing program would allow travelers arriving from out of state to skip a requirement that they self-quarantine for 14 days if they test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours before arriving. It’s scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1, though the state has yet to release details on how it would be carried out.

If the governor doesn’t delay the start date, the council urged a number of additional measures to safeguard Hawaii from the coronavirus. They include requiring travelers to take a second test after arriving, boosting testing capacity and developing a mobile phone application to help identify people an infected traveler may come into contact with.

The governor’s office didn’t immediately reply to an email message seeking comment.

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