1. COVID19 Updates

As of May 25, 2021, 15,708 people have received the first dose of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  7,507 people have completed the second dose of the Moderna vaccine.  Pohnpei’s vaccination coverage is at 36%.

The vaccine coverage rate in the Municipalities is as follows:

  1. Kolonia – 54%
  2. U – 49%
  3. Sokehs – 43%
  4. Madolenihmw – 39%
  5. Kitti – 39%
  6. Nett – 38%
  7. Outer Islands – 3%

From the Guam Daily Post: The Republic of Palau is prepared to welcome visitors who are fully vaccinated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved COVID-19 vaccines, including those from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. said the island nation has inoculated 95% of their adults or 70% of their entire community.

New cases reported on May 25, 2021, by WHO in the Pacific Region: 8 cases in Fiji, 1 case in Guam.

In Hawaii, The average number of new cases per day in the past 7 days is currently at 63, In May, 92% of cases have been community-associated. 

 

2.  First batch of repatriated residents released from quarantine

The first batch of repatriated residents was released from Quarantine on May 20, 2021, after testing NEGATIVE for COVID-19 and being in quarantine for seven days in Pohnpei, and seven days of pre-quarantine in Guam.

In a brief ceremony at the airport, Speaker Lambert and Governor Oliver officially welcomed them home.  In their brief remarks, both Speaker and Governor acknowledged the long and often frustrating delay for their return home, expressing their happiness for their safe return.  Governor Oliver apologized to the repatriates and conveyed his sincere gratitude for their patience and understanding.  

Englebert Perman spoke on behalf of the repatriates. Mr. Perman spoke of the disappointment and anxiety that many of the repatriates experienced being unable to return home for over one year.  He also acknowledged and commended the work done by the Pohnpei State Government, especially at the Medical Monitoring Area.  On behalf of the repatriates, he offered their collective experiences to help with Pohnpei’s COVID-19 response. 

Special thanks to Mr. Sei Uemoto, from Sei Restaurant, who donated lunch for the repatriated residents.  

3.  Handover ceremony with Japanese Embassy for a new recycling center

Thank you to the Embassy and People of Japan for your generous support. 

In a handover ceremony today, May 21, 2021, at Dekehtik, His Excellency Sobashima Hidenobu, Japanese Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), handed over the keys to a new recycling center building to Governor Oliver, who then handed the keys over to Executive Officer, Mr. Henry Susaia.  

In his opening remarks, Chief of Staff Kapilly Capelle spoke of the increased capacity that Pohnpei State will realize through the Embassy of Japan’s support with the new recycling center and a forthcoming recycling machine.  Ambassador Sobashima explained that an additional four million cans will be recycled with the increased capacity, along with better parking and the habit of recycling instilled in future generations. Governor Oliver thanked Ambassador Sobashima on behalf of the people of Pohnpei for this project and the many projects from the Embassy of Japan that have helped the people of Pohnpei and looked forward to more projects in the future. In closing, he thanked the Embassy of Japan, Office of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) for the coordination and support, and Pacific Landscaping and Engineering Company (PLEC) for the construction of the building.  

4. Second batch of repatriated residents released from quarantine

Another batch of repatriated residents was released from Quarantine on May 21, 2021, after testing NEGATIVE for COVID-19 and being in quarantine for seven days in Pohnpei, and seven days of pre-quarantine in Guam.

In a brief ceremony at the airport, Governor Oliver officially welcomed the 22 repatriated residents home.  In his brief remarks, Governor Oliver apologized to the repatriates for the delay, and conveyed his sincere gratitude for their patience and understanding.  He asked the repatriates to help the Pohnpei State Government and Task Force with the knowledge and experience they have gained over the past year dealing with COVID-19.  

Faustino Yarofaisug spoke on behalf of the repatriates. Mr. Yarofaisug expressed his joy and gratitude for returning home to Pohnpei.  He spoke of the many hardships experienced and overcome and apologized for any misunderstandings that may have resulted during their hardships.  He called for the support of our State and National Leaders, as we continue to respond and adapt to conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Special thanks to Mr. Sei Uemoto, from Sei Restaurant, who donated lunch for the repatriated residents, for the second day in a row. 

5. Dr. Thane Hancock from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Guam visits Governor Oliver

On Monday, May 24, 2021, Governor Oliver welcomed Dr. Thane Hancock from CDC, Guam to the Governor’s Office at Peilapalap, Kolonia. Introducing Dr. Hancock to Governor Oliver was Dr. Rally Jim, Pohnpei State COVID-19 Emergency Task Force Chairman.
 
Governor Oliver thanked Dr. Hancock, his organization, and the US Government for providing Pohnpei State and the FSM National Government with his expertise in advisement and management of epidemic and pandemic situations. Dr. Hancock considered his visit an honor and is very excited to be part of this effort in the FSM. He referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a historic event because this pandemic is the biggest pandemic/disease outbreak in scope and reach the world has ever experienced in human history. He said what Pohnpei, FSM, and other freely associated states have done to date to keep these islands COVID-free is remarkable and will be noted in history books. Dr. Hancock gave credit to difficult but insightful leadership decisions made with sacrifices as the reasons for keeping these islands protected and safe from the virus. With the availability of efficacious vaccines, the possibility of containing, and ultimately ending this pandemic is within our grasp.
 
It is now up to our own people to take the vaccines while they are still available, to help us eliminate and effectively prevent the virus from spreading in our families, communities, in our state, and in our nation, and to avoid mistakes and avert fatal consequences experienced in Guam, USA and many other countries all over the world.
 
Dr. Hancock, as an expert, affirmed the advantages of getting vaccinated, stating that every person that is immunized, is protected against COVID-19. He shared a recent CDC recommendation that said if most people are vaccinated, using masks may not be necessary. The evidence now is very clear that vaccines are working effectively against COVID-19, therefore vaccination efforts should be pursued at all costs. He noticed, however, that the biggest challenge now with vaccination campaigns is the excessive volume of misinformation, misrepresentation, fabricated spins, falsehoods, etc. streaming through the airwaves and social media. In Pohnpei, these falsehoods are further spewed through coconut wireless, around the “peitehl” and through many other local social media networks. People need to stay away from these misleading forums. When in doubt consult your doctor.
 
Dr. Hancock shared that Palau is leading the world in vaccination coverage efforts, with over 90% of the population already receiving at least one shot. Dr. Jim shared that Pohnpei’s overall completed coverage rate as of Monday, May 24, 2021, was 35%, with over 50% of the population that can receive vaccines, already having received them. Dr. Hancock advised that in the recent past, the Pohnpei State immunization program demonstrated its capacity to achieve a high vaccination/immunization coverage level in record time during a Measles outbreak. Therefore the potential is there to reach the level of coverage like that of Palau on COVID-19 today. He believes Pohnpei can achieve that in record time if proper planning and energy are assembled.
 
Governor Oliver thanked Dr. Hancock for the courtesy visit and most importantly for availing himself to help Pohnpei and the other FSM States during this unprecedented healthcare emergency situation. Dr. Hancock will be helping the people of the FSM until June 19, 2021.

By PIO

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