Micronesia's Pohnpei ramps up ban on entry

22 March 2020

Pohnpei, the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), strengthened its ban on incoming travelers on Saturday in the face of the escalating spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the region.

Pohnpei Governor Reed Oliver issued an amended emergency order on the same day health authorities announced a second "person under investigation" for Covid-19. The island, which hosts the capital for the four-states of Micronesia, does not yet have a confirmed case of Covid-19.

Mr Oliver's new order bans arrival of all travellers, with the exception of airline flight crew, humanitarian support aircraft or vessels, and all cargo vessels and tankers - with those exempted required to remain in the airport or seaport with no contact with local workers or authorities.

Since the FSM Congress on March 11 revoked President David Panuelo's executive order implementing one of the world's most stringent Covid-19-related travel bans starting at the end of January, the individual states have moved to restrict travel.

Pohnpei initially responded to the FSM Congress' action on the same day by declaring an emergency and imposing a 14-day mandatory quarantine period for all inbound travelers. On March 18, Mr Oliver updated his first emergency order by banning the arrival of anyone who was not a Pohnpei citizen or resident, which gave exemption to diplomats, business people, and officials with international agencies and non-profit groups. They were still required to comply with a 14-day self-quarantine.

Saturday's order closes the door on arrivals and follows announcements of an increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Guam and Hawaii, where tens of thousands of FSM citizens live.

FSM neighbor the Marshall Islands has maintained a total ban on incoming travelers since 8 March and has now lost regular international air service by United Airlines, which has scheduled only one roundtrip flight in April connecting the Marshall Islands and the FSM to Guam and Hawaii. Currently, United has reduced its more than four times weekly service to Pohnpei to a single weekly roundtrip flight to Guam.

"For all the discussion about how travel bans don't work," said FSM President David Panuelo, who is from Pohnpei, after the FSM Congress on March 11 over-ruled his travel ban, "It is noteworthy that the FSM still doesn't have any cases of Covid-19." He said that the "health and safety of our people…should outweigh the short-term economic impact that we are currently facing."

Mr Oliver's 21 March amended emergency order points out that "the Territory of Guam, a major transit hub for travelers to Pohnpei, recently reported eight confirmed cases of Covid-19."

The FSM and the Marshall Islands remain two of a few countries globally that have not reported any confirmed cases of Covid-19. Mr Oliver in his emergency order warned of the "imminent threat of Covid-19."



  • I would propose to extend the quarantine to 4 weeks, this virus seems to be more tricky than we think...image
  • From the way we see it spreading around the world, these restrictions could be in place for a lot longer than four weeks, sad to say.
  • FM, thanks for sharing the info. A lot of reports and news are going around; so it's good to get the latest. I am glad Pohnpei Governor Oliver took the action that he took. It is not based on politics but the need to protect the Pohnpeians in Pohnpei but also the many guests who are living in Pohnpei--whether they work for the Embassies, international organizations, college, state government, etc.

    Those of us living in Pohnpei are getting nervous because of Guam's reported cases have increased to 27. And Guam is where a lot of people come thru if they come to Pohnpei. Also, a lot of Pohnpeians do live and work in Guam; so it feels like the epidemic is now encroaching in the neighborhood. It'll probably be a matter of time. Hope not. Good luck to us all.
  • My hope is that our islands remain pandemic-free long enough for treatments and a vaccine to be developed.

    If or when the virus does arrive, I hope that everyone cooperates to limit its spread and that everyone cares for those who are stricken.
  • Stupid!!! Stupid stupid! Y’all want us to take the vaccines? Like all vaccines that actually killed people ? That one?
  • Have y’all done y’all research jus for one of the incidents like polio or aids? The one the lied to African that they sick to make vaccines that actually injected aids in children from Africa? That one??
  • Wake up you idiots they don’t even look into what’s in those vaccines
  • It’s big business this people are sick they eat even children’s!
  • The wolf in your house u don’t even know! They jus say eat shit so we got to eat shit how easy I’m so amazed of how stupid we really are!
  • There is no fukn virus well if there is so what! Corona doesn’t want to kill u it’s 5G if they said people die jus like that that’s not a virus! That’s 5G radiation
  • Fukn strong ass microwave 10X effective
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