Flying to a faraway beach might seem like the perfect way to escape a pandemic, but for isolated Pacific islands, controlling the coronavirus means cutting off tourism.
Hawaii has among the lowest COVID-19 infection and mortality rates in the U.S. As cases rose in March, Gov. David Ige did something no other state can — effectively seal its borders. People who do come face a two-week quarantine, stopping the flow of tens of thousands of tourists who typically arrive every day.
“We are the most isolated community on the planet,” Ige told The Associated Press last week. “As such, we’ve got to be more self-reliant, but we also had the opportunity to enact a quarantine, make it meaningful and most importantly, know that we could really dramatically reduce the number of visitors we get.”