Compliance with travel rules at 98%, Health secretary says

By John McPhaul

Up to 98 percent of the travelers arriving in Puerto Rico are complying with the island’s new COVID-19 public health provisions, Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López confirmed Tuesday.

Of a total of 47,825 travelers, 34,553 presented the result of the molecular test and 12,791 tests were performed within 48 hours as stipulated in administrative order 2021-499, which went into force last Wednesday to minimize infections.

“We are happy with the results so far and we will continue to improve the process,” Mellado López said in a written statement. “Day by day we were able to observe an increase in the number of travelers with the result of the tests and others who managed it within the 48-hour period of arriving on the island. Certainly, what we are looking for is compliance and not setting a fine, but those who fail to comply, beyond paying $300, must be in quarantine until the test is done and they present it in their travel declaration.”

According to the travelers registry, in the first five days a total of 481 fines were levied, which represents $144,300. The payment of fines is made through the portal or at the collection office at the airport.

Meanwhile, the Health secretary stressed the importance that “all passengers must remain in quarantine until the molecular test is carried out.”

“We seek to detect positive cases in time to avoid contagion, offer citizens an effective treatment and if necessary monoclonal treatment to reduce the risks of hospitalizations,” he said after ensuring that researchers continue to be vigilant and travelers are randomly visited to ensure compliance with the order.

The agency’s Investigations Office meanwhile carried out 33 interventions over the weekend in the towns of Culebra, Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Carolina, San Juan and Cataño.

“In Culebra, we intervened with Caracoles Restaurant, Happy Landing, Dakity Gas Station and El Nuevo Mini Más,” Mellado López said. “Similarly, in San Juan there was a voluntary closure and a fine for Garabatos and Fuego Criollo. For the municipality of Cataño, operations were carried out at Pizzería Los Varios and Frente Marítimo. While in Aguas Buenas, a family birthday party was intervened with 60 people, for violation of the executive order, crowding and not having a dispensation to hold the event. Likewise, in the municipality of Cataño, a family was advised for non-compliance.”

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