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State briefs for November 18

Kauai mayor wants additional COVID screening

HONOLULU — Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami is asking Gov. David Ige to consider new rules that would make a second coronavirus test mandatory for all arriving travelers to Kauai and require that everyone has an initial negative test before flying.

Kawakami made a similar request in October when the state launched its pre-travel testing program that allows travelers to skip two weeks of quarantine if they get a single negative test within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii. Now he wants to mandate that all air travelers get a second test three days after they arrive. They would have to remain in quarantine on Kauai during that time.

Ige denied Kawakami’s first request. The governor’s office said Ige is reviewing the new request and had no further comment.

Kawakami also asked the governor to allow Kauai to require anyone flying to the island have their initial negative test result before flying. Currently, people are allowed to fly to any island and if the results from their first pre-travel test have not yet come back, they can quarantine in their hotel room or home until the results are available.

A statement from the mayor released Monday said Kauai has had 9 travelers arrive since the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program that did not have their test results before landing and then they came back positive once there. Kauai also had 12 people come to the island with a negative pre-travel test and then subsequently test positive in secondary screening.

Residents of Kauai, which implemented strict lockdown measures early in the pandemic, enjoyed a mostly COVID-free summer.

Pentagon says it shot down unarmed missile in sea-based test

WASHINGTON — In a first for the Pentagon’s push to develop defenses against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States, a missile interceptor launched from a U.S. Navy ship at sea hit and destroyed a mock ICBM in flight on Tuesday, officials said.

Previous tests against ICBM targets had used interceptors launched from underground silos in the United States. If further, more challenging tests prove successful, the ship-based approach could add to the credibility and reliability of the Pentagon’s existing missile defense system.

Navy Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, which conducted Tuesday’s test, called the result “an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone” for the program. He said this ship-based approach, if augmented with more capable systems for detecting and tracking hostile missiles in flight, could provide “a hedge against unexpected developments in the missile threat.”

In Tuesday’s test, the latest version of an Aegis SM-3 missile built by Raytheon Missiles & Defense was fired from a Navy destroyer situated in the Pacific, northeast of Hawaii. Its target was a mock ICBM launched from a U.S. test range at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The target missile was not equipped with decoys or other sophisticated systems of the kind that a U.S. missile interceptor might face in a real attack on the U.S. homeland.

The test was planned for last spring but was delayed because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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