Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s Executive Order requiring a 14-day quarantine for all arriving passengers coming from a region infected by the coronavirus is mandatory, according to the Governor’s Chief Policy Adviser Carlo Branch.
“It is required of everyone,” he said, “if health authorities at the airport deem it necessary.”
On Monday, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero issued the Executive Order, which refers to a “mandatory” quarantine for all arriving foreign and local residents flying in from an area where COVID-19 cases are prevalent.
On the same day, the Department of Public Health began issuing a ‘Dear Arriving Passenger’ letter that refers to a voluntary self-quarantine.
Star Marianas Air is among those wondering whether the quarantine is “mandatory” or “voluntary.” The airline today canceled its flights to and from Guam Tuesday because of the “uncertainty”.
“Effective immediately, non-resident travelers seeking entry into Guam who have spent a week or more in jurisdictions affected by COVID-19 will be subject to mandatory quarantine.
The mandatory quarantine will be applied unless the traveler possesses a DPHSS recognized and certified document that attests he or she is not infected with COVID-19.
Returning residents without the same certification will be subject to quarantine in their homes for a minimum of 14-days.”
“Your voluntary self-quarantine is necessary for the preservation and protection of the public health … therefore, your compliance is hereby requested …”
Chief Policy Advisory Branch explained that the order, followed by the ‘Dear Arriving Passenger’ letter is part of a legal process required for enforcement of any mandatory quarantine.
“We’re dealing with restricting a person’s movement,” he said and “they have a constitutional right to object.”
However in order for the quarantine to be legally enforced he said: “you must allow the individual being held under that restriction to engage in voluntary quarantine.”
If after being asked to voluntarily comply, the individual refuses, then they are subject to “involuntary quarantine” said Branch, if health authorities at the airport deem it necessary.
A person can then be forcibly placed in quarantine, he said.
“After the tenth day,” said Branch, ”Under the laws of Guam, the Public Health Authority, or its designee, must go to court and inform the court of the actions that it took and the reasons why.”
READ the letter from DPHSS in FULL below:
Dear Arriving Passenger,
Based on the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has determined that your voluntary self-quarantine is necessary for the preservation and protection of the public health. This determination was based on your recent travel history and potential epidemiological risk. Pursuant to P.L. 22-130, DPHSS is implementing these measures to ensure the protection of our island community.
Therefore, your compliance is hereby requested. Please remain at home, hotel or any place that you will be staying during your time on Guam for the next 14 days.
Please read the following information carefully and follow the recommendation.
- DPHSS requests that you stay away from work, school, child care, church and all public areas, and to avoid travel by air and sea until we notify you that it is safe to resume your normal activities.
- If you develop any of the following symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please call (671 480-6760, 480-7883 for further instructions.
- Information on COVID-19 is available at the DPHSS website, dphss.guam.gov or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/index.html.
We understand that being quarantined may cause some inconvenience to you. However, it is very important for the protection of your own health and that of others that you abide by this request for quarantine. We very much appreciate your cooperation and compliance as we continue to keep Guam safe.
Linda Unpingco DeNorcey MPH