GVB balks at calls for coronavirus travel restrictions

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Senator Therese Terlaje sent a letter to Governor Leon Guerrero today asking her “to use all means to try and prevent an infected passenger from reaching Guam and further straining our healthcare systems” in light of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Terlaje asked the governor “to seek federal and airline cooperation in screening before boarding flights to Guam.”

In her letter to the Governor Terlaje suggests “invoking the cooperation of federal agencies and the airlines to prevent the arrival of the coronavirus on Guam.”

Terlaje’s letter follows Thursday’s call by Sen. Nelson for the suspension of  all flights from countries which have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this week CNMI Governor Ralph Torres declared a state of emergency and barred entry to any travelers coming from mainland China.

In response, the Guam Visitor’s Bureau Acting President and CEO Bobby Alvarez, expressed concern about the proposed suspension of flights.

“If flights are suspended,” said Alvarez, it would affect “the livelihood of the over 21,000 men and women and their families” as well as impact Guam’s economy.

He said “GVB’s role is to monitor and share information” and “protocols are in place.”

Alvarez pointed out that “even before visitors come to Guam, they are screened at the airports from our source markets.”

GVB is “confident” in the prevention plans that have been put together by the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Public Health, the Guam International Airport, and others, he said.

And GVB  has “met daily with many of these lead agencies” and “we also are in constant communication with our source markets,” said Alvarez.

READ the statement from Acting President and CEO Bobby Alvarez in FULL below:

“We are confident with the response plan put together by the lead agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Public Health and Social Services, Guam International Airport Authority, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Guam Customs & Quarantine, and airline partners.

We also are in constant communication with our source markets and have met daily with many of these lead agencies.

In line with our mission statement, our concern and priority is the health and safety of our island. Protocols are in place. In addition, GVB’s role is to monitor and share information. Even before visitors come to Guam, they are screened at the airports from our source markets.

If flights are indeed suspended, we are also concerned about the livelihood of the over 21,000 men and women and their families, who are the heart of our tourism industry that it may impact and Guam’s economy.”