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Gov’t lays out security measures at Puerto Rico airports to curb spread of COVID-19

Starting July 15, all passengers arriving at Puerto Rico airports will be required to wear a face mask or covering while in the facilities, provide proof that they have tested negative for COVID-19, or in the absence of that, self-isolate for 14 days.

Executive Order 2020-052 also calls for passengers to fill out an information form to monitor their health. The conditions apply to passengers arriving at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, and Mercedita Airport in Ponce.

The order mandates that arriving passengers provide a travel declaration and a SARS-CoV2 qualified negative molecular COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours prior to arrival. If a test result is unavailable, passengers must go through the screening process established at the airport to perform the quick COVID-19 test. If positive, the molecular test will be performed. While waiting for the results, incoming travelers must remain in quarantine, Gov. Wanda Vázquez said.

“All the measures we have taken since March have had the goal of saving the lives of all of us who live in Puerto Rico,” she said. “Specifically, at airports, we cannot let our guard down. We know that physical distancing has been one of the most difficult aspects in the midst of this situation and many want to come and spend time with their loved ones, but we must take the appropriate precautions to avoid infecting others.”

Health Secretary Lorenzo González confirmed the government will hire 350 people to follow up on arriving passengers and has bought 200 computers and 300 mobile phones for the monitoring.

Similarly, the Health Department granted a $7.5 million contract to Quest Laboratories for 100,000 molecular tests to be used at the airports.

“As you know, the government of Puerto Rico cannot control air traffic, so we cannot close or control the number of flights and/or passengers. But we have the power and the obligation to protect all of us who live here, and that’s why we are implementing these measures to prevent further contagion,” Vázquez said.

The National Guard, in coordination with the Health Department, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, the Department of Public are among the agencies that must enforce the provisions of the Executive Order.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. will establish communication with travel agencies and airlines to help notify passengers of the requirements to travel to Puerto Rico and Discover Puerto Rico will inform on it through its promotional efforts abroad.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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