The Marshall Islands first border cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified on the military base on Kwajalein Atoll. These two people arrived yesterday, Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 on the ATI Flight that flew directly from Honolulu, HI to Kwajalein Atoll. The National Disaster Committee, in close coordination with the President and the Cabinet and USAG-KA, are rapidly responding to these cases and we can assure the public that these are strictly border cases and were discovered while these people were in quarantine, where they remain until this time. The Response Teams are monitoring the situation very closely. Neither of the cases are symptomatic or showing signs of the virus.
Case #1, a 35-year old female, tested positive on the evening of October 27th after arriving earlier in the day. This person was known to have had COVID-19 in late July 2020. Case #1 has received an antibody test, the results of which are still pending. This will determine if this COVID-19 case is indeed a historical infection, meaning the person previously had COVID-19 and is not infectious/contagious.
Case #2, a 46-year old male, tested positive earlier today, October 28th, after also arriving on previous day on the same flight as Case #1. As with Case #1, we are still waiting for the results of the antibody test. As far as we know, this person previously did not have COVID-19.
The 2 cases are not epidemiologically linked and protocols in place on USAK-GA have ensured they have not had contact with the community and both, along with their tranche, remain under strict quarantine.
Advice to the public:
At this time, members of the public are requested to remain calm and stay tuned for updates from the National Disaster Committee.
At the present moment, this remains a border quarantine case of COVID-19, with no threat of Community Transmission.
Because these are border cases and contained in strict quarantine this does not require a nation-wide lockdown i.e. schools will continue, shops and businesses will remain open and government operations will continue until further notice.
The National Disaster Committee continues to recommend the public to continue to practice safe hand hygiene, coughing & sneezing etiquette, physical distancing and frequent cleaning of surfaces.
More information about the situation will be provided at a minimum EVERY 24 HOURS via radio, mass texts and press releases and press conferences.
For more information, please contact National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) at 692-625-6366
(Press Rebublic of Marshall Islands press release 28 October 2020)