Gov. David Ige stated that the emergency declaration will give Hawaii “the ability to move more quickly and efficiently in our efforts to protect our communities from the virus and provide emergency relief if, and when it is necessary,” according to local news outlets.
The COVID-19 danger is “significant so as to warrant preemptive and protective actions in order to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the people of the state,” Ige said in the declaration.
“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our communities across the state. COVID-19 has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern,” Ige said in a news release, according to the Star-Advertiser. “This emergency proclamation will give us the ability to move more quickly and efficiently in our efforts to protect our communities from the virus and provide emergency relief if, and when it is necessary.”
Hawaii doesn’t have a confirmed coronavirus case, but a cruise ship with passengers who may have been infected stopped at the four main islands of Hawaii. Two former passengers who were on the vessel tested positive for COVID-19, Ige said.
Some 35 passengers on board who are experiencing flu-like symptoms are currently being tested for the virus. The results are expected to start coming in on Friday, according to executive director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management Mary Ellen Carroll.
The mayors of Maui, Kauai, and the City and County of Honolulu issued proclamations following the outbreak, according to Hawaii Public Radio.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 99 cases and 10 deaths in the United States by midday on Thursday.