Changes are definitely still afoot here with regards to Hawaii Safe Travels and the rules that visitors and residents will need to comply with going forward. Exactly what will happen remains clear as mud as we await the direction Hawaii will head in next. That as the state reports half of all Covid cases ever occurred this month with 105k reported as of yesterday.
While there has been great hope that the state’s Covid problems will continue to plummet with Omicron declining, now that too is unclear. The health department said that the presence in Hawaii of the latest variant could either “slow down or delay the end of this surge.” Wow, and just when we thought we almost had a break coming.
New BA.2 variant now spreading in Hawaii.
The stealth omicron variant, BA.2, is now reported by Hawaii’s health department to be spreading in the islands. Lt. Gov. physician Josh Green confirmed that report, saying “we do have some cases.”
Gov. Ige sticks to boosters needed but what about Lt. Gov. Green?
Ige has not reneged on his plan to require boosters in the next few weeks. We reported recently that the change is expected to take effect on February 18, 2022. And there has been no word to contradict that although the official announcement has not been made.
Lt. Governor Josh Green, an Emergency Room physician, has made his own suggestions for Safe Travels changes. Green said that he would like to see travelers be required to either present proof of Covid boosters or proof of negative pre-travel Covid testing in addition to their primary vaccination.
Honolulu and Maui are on different paths.
Honolulu is dropping its restrictions on large indoor gatherings. Mayor Blangiardi dropped the 50% limit on indoor events effective today. And, at the same time, there are indications that there may be no booster requirement on that island going forward. Blangiardi said last week he has no plans for boosters to be part of the Safe Access Oahu program. Oahu’s change appears to conflict with Lt. Gov. Green’s suggestion we need to “avoid conditions of crowding.”
Maui’s program, effective last week, does require boosters to be considered fully vaccinated for purposes of indoor dining and drinking.
Harbinger “change agent” Israel plans to live with COVID and change rules again.
Until now, arrivals in Israel have needed to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of flight or a negative antigen test within 24 hours of flight. Instead, Israel is poised to require only a test on arrival.
The CEO of their national airline, El Al, just said that Israel “has made a decision to live alongside coronavirus.” He went on to say that “the Western world, as well as the World Health Organization, recognize and understand that aviation is not a cause for further morbidity and restrictions on movement… have been found to be an ineffective tool in preventing the spread of the virus.”
Would Israel’s plan work here in Hawaii or just what is needed and appropriate? We invite you to add your thoughts to the discussion.