Sen. Manglona said Rota should be included in anti-Covid-19 measures

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SENATOR Paul A. Manglona is asking Gov. Ralph DLG Torres to include Rota in the protective measures against the threat of Covid-19.

Paul Atalig Manglona

In a letter, Manglona said the administration’s measures in response to the global Covid-19 outbreak “may be insufficient” to “shield” Rota.

He said like Saipan, Rota receives direct flights from outside the CNMI — namely, Guam. However, he said the Rota International Airport does not have a thermal scanner to screen tourists entering from Guam. It is unclear whether the Commonwealth Ports Authority intends to purchase another thermal scanner to protect this second point of entry into the CNMI, Manglona said.

He is requesting the governor to ask CPA to provide Rota International Airport with a thermal scanner.

The governor earlier identified the Rota Roundhouse as the primary location “to prevent or limit the transmission of [Covid-19]” on Rota.

But the Rota Roundhouse is an open-air facility that is ill-equipped to handle quarantine operations or any operation requiring a sanitary environment, Manglona said.

He asked the governor to remove the Rota Roundhouse from the emergency protocols and designate more secure location on Rota.

Manglona said there is also a need to conduct “emergency training” in all the three senatorial districts.

Right now, the senator told the governor, “it is unclear whether your administration’s emergency protocol includes training for staff at the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and other agencies involved in emergency management.”

He said it is “vital to train emergency response staff from Rota and Tinian, especially considering their limited capabilities at critical facilities.”

Regarding CHCC’s screening at its points of entry, Manglona said it is unclear whether the same practice is in place at the Rota Health Clinic or the Tinian Health Center.

“Please ensure that CHCC has equipped its facilities on Rota and Tinian to screen individuals for Covid-19 at their points of entry,” the senator said.

Noting that the Trump administration has declared a rapid expansion of Covid-19 diagnostic testing capabilities throughout the United States, Manglona said he believes CNMI should receive a significant amount of assistance in deterring this disease.

He said CNMI is the closest U.S. jurisdiction to the Covid-19 outbreak epicenters.

“Please clarify whether the federal government will provide the CNMI with diagnostic tests and other tools to combat Covid-19,” Manglona said.

“I commend your office for taking swift action in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, I also believe the CNMI’s response could be more robust if the above concerns are addressed in full. Any coordination on the CNMI’s response to Covid-19 should also include corresponding agencies and authorities on Rota and Tinian. I hope that these concerns are factored into your response efforts moving forward,” the senator added.

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