FSM declares public health emergency, enforces travel ban to China

FSM seal (PNC file photo)

“FSM president seeking assistance for 6 citizens who are currently studying in Wuhan” 

The Federated States of Micronesia has declared a state of public health emergency in response to the coronavirus threat. With the declaration, the FSM has formally enforced a travel ban that prohibits entry to travelers coming from China.

The FSM national government also restricted its citizens and residents from traveling to China.

All visitors, returning citizens, and residents, to the FSM are also required to present a health form certifying that they do not show coronovirus symptoms. And show proof that they have resided in a coronavirus-free location for a minimum of 14 days.

The FSM national government issued the declaration “to protect the nation and its citizens from the new coronavirus,” according to the Office of the FSM president.

FSM President David Panuelo has established a taskforce to coordinate all activities related to addressing the health threat. Their duties include the monitoring of individuals who arrive in the FSM for coronavirus symptoms.

“I will do whatever is necessary to protect our Nation and our citizens,” Panuelo said. “Micronesians are renowned for their humility, respect and deference to others, and calm attitude towards challenges. The Government is aware that citizens have reacted to the existence and speedy propagation of this new virus with an alarm that could be described as out-of-character, and I believe that the cause for these concerns are predicated on citizens’ legitimate worries that this virus may ultimately reach our shores.”

“We will take every step available to make sure that Micronesians from Yap, from Chuuk, from Pohnpei, and from Kosrae are safe.”

Panuelo submitted to the 21st Congress of the FSM a proposed legislation appropriating an additional $301,478 from the General Fund of the FSM to fund the various activities of the National Government in response to the threats posed by the new coronavirus.

FSM students in Wuhan

According to the FSM government, there are currently six FSM students in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Panuelo has formally requested Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assistance to ensure that the students are safe. The students are well provided for but currently restrained in the university campus, according to information posted by the FSM Office of the President.

“The FSM Government and the Chinese Government have agreed that it is in the best interest of the students’ health and wellbeing that they remain precisely where they are. Other Pacific Islands, such as the Independent State of Samoa, have reached similar conclusions regarding their students in China,” the statement read.

The FSM national government also offered its condolences and sympathies to the people and Government of China.

“We are collaborating with the international community and partners such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and actively contributing our own efforts to help contain any further spread of this virus,” Panuelo said. “I compliment you and your Government for taking proactive, bold, and crucial efforts to protect human lives.”