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Puerto Rico to demand COVID-19 test results from passengers

Virus Outbreak Puerto Rico Tests
Gov. Wanda Vazquez, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, April 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Puerto Rico’s Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced on Tuesday that all passengers flying into Puerto Rico will have to wear a mask and must take a molecular test 72 hours prior to their arrival and submit the results to officials at the airport.

The new rules go into effect starting July 15th and are being placed in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Those who refuse to do so, or tested positive, or do not have the test results available, will be forced into a two-week quarantine. During that time, they have to undergo a molecular test and share the results if they want to be released from quarantine, said Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González.

“If you don’t want to be tested, stay home. Don’t come here and complicate our situation,” he said.

González said that the government will not track every single violator ordered into quarantine. Instead, the monitoring via a system known as “Sara Alert” will be random and target those who do not respond to tracking efforts, including phone calls and personal visits. Passengers who do not respond to text messages requesting health updates will be fined.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez said her administration will recruit 350 people to help with tracking and monitoring efforts.

“We cannot let our guard down, especially with people who live elsewhere and are infected,” she said.

The government has reported at least 153 deaths in Puerto Rico, along with more than 1,690 confirmed cases and more than 5,770 probable ones.