March 27, 2020 – Tamuning, Guam- The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has filed an action on behalf of the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) asking that passengers who arrived on Guam from Manila remain in quarantine until they have been cleared of COVID-19. Under Guam law, the Director of DPHSS can use “every means available” to prevent the transmission of disease when a public health emergency has been declared, including quarantine and isolation.
According to court documents, all travelers were asked if they would agree to quarantine. The “vast majority” of individuals agreed. Today’s case was limited to travelers who did not agree to complete the quarantine process. The petition asks the court to keep the individuals in quarantine for only as long as necessary to reasonably determine that they do not pose a risk of transmitting COVID-19. Once DPHSS has made that determination, the individuals will be released.
When the mandatory quarantine of travelers arriving from Manila went into effect, there were 12 cases of COVID-19 in Guam. Court documents state that the decision to quarantine at a government site was based on the findings that a significant number of cases of COVID-19 in Guam were linked to travel from the Philippines and that Guam was expected to receive an unprecedented number of travelers from Manila. Based on the expected number of travelers, the limited number of test kits, and the government’s ability to ensure that passengers followed quarantine measures, DPHSS decided that mandatory quarantine at a government site was necessary.