American Samoa is reopening to travel from Hawaii with twice-monthly flights from Honolulu.

Beginning Monday, travelers will be able to fly on Hawaiian Airlines to the U.S. territory’s capital, Pago Pago, so long as they have proof of vaccination and three negative tests for Covid-19.

The territory closed its borders in March 2020 and has kept strong precautionary measures throughout the pandemic, only allowing a series of repatriation flights from Hawaii earlier this year. It has no recorded cases, except for four aboard container ships, and just half the population has been fully vaccinated.

Travelers to American Samoa must register with Talofa Pass and upload proof of vaccinations via the online system to screen passengers entering the territory.

Registration must be done at least 21 days before the planned departure date, while tests must be taken 10, five and two days before departure —  the second and third tests must be taken in Honolulu.

Pago Pago International Airport
There have been no commercial flights in or out of Pago Pago International Airport since March 2020. Eddy23/Wikimedia Commons

Mandatory vaccination for travel was implemented on Aug. 24, once the Food and Drug Administration approved its first Covid-19 vaccine.

American Samoa charted a number of medical flights and “test flights” ahead of the reestablishment of its link with Hawaii, to test its Talofa Pass system and to bring in essential medical and government staff. It also charted a series of Hawaiian Airlines flights to repatriate almost 2,000 residents between Jan. 29 and July 29.

It had previously scheduled an Aug. 26 reopening, but the implementation of Talofa Pass and a surge in Covid-19 cases in the South Pacific and Hawaii delayed plans.

Though vaccinations are mandatory for incoming travelers, American Samoa’s Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo V. Ale has “resisted mandating anything to our people.” A $100 per dose incentive is being given to residents until Oct. 15, according to Samoa News.

Hawaiian Airlines ran twice-weekly flights to Pago Pago before it closed its borders last year. The new twice-monthly schedule has been confirmed until Dec. 20, when it will be reevaluated by Hawaiian Airlines and the American Samoan government.

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