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More passengers fight Guam quarantine

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HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — The Department of Public Health and Social Services continues to unlawfully hold arriving passengers in the government's quarantine facility in Tumon. That's according to attorneys who represent more than a handful of people fighting to get out of the Tumon facility.

Superior Court of Guam Judge Elyze Iriarte will hear arguments today on four new petitions that were filed in court this week.

Among the petitioners are members of the Ikei family, who recently lost both of their parents to Covid-19. Six of them have been kept in the quarantine facility since they arrived on Sept. 16.

It was said in court on Tuesday that Public Health wants to relocate one of the adult children to the isolation facility after her test results came back positive.

However, the Ikeis' attorney, Jacqueline Terlaje, argued that the family should be kept together.

"The family has been quarantined in close quarters for the last six days. There is no reason to take a family member out," said Terlaje. "We have alleged hardship. This family is already suffering from depression and anxiety, and [DPHSS] are proposing to move her to another place in isolation alone."

Chima Mbakwem with DPHSS told the court that if the woman is relocated, the clock would reset for the others to be quarantined for the full 14 days, adding that the patient who tested positive would need to be cleared by a medical doctor.

Elyze McDonald Iriarte speaks at the Legislature during her confirmation hearing for her appointment as judge of the Superior Court of Guam on Oct. 10, 2016. The Guam Daily Post photo

"We need to separate them to cut off any transmission of the virus," said Mbakwem.

The family argues the test results may be faulty, as the others in the same room have tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

The court ordered that DPHSS stand down on relocating her until the judge makes a final decision.

Other petitioners

At least three other petitioners will also have their cases heard in a local court.

Christina Pang, who is represented by attorney Tom Fisher, returned to Guam from Manila, Philippines, on Sept. 12 with a negative Covid-19 test result.

Trevin Jones, who is represented by attorney Terlaje, returned from Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 16. He had a negative test result.

Attorney Rachel Taimanao-Ayuyu's client, who was released from quarantine on Monday night, will also have her petition argued before the court. The passenger asked not to be publicly named, but she arrived on Sept. 15 with a negative test result.

They said they are being held unlawfully.

On Tuesday, the governor's office posted a public service announcement on social media that states, in part, "Without a vaccine, quarantine is the best tool we have to protect our island."

The governor consulted with her physicians' advisory group on Tuesday about the possibility of reducing quarantine to seven days, but no decision had been announced.


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