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OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR – NEWS RELEASE: Hawaiʻi expands pre-travel testing program to Korea

Posted on Jan 27, 2021 in COVID-19, COVID-19 News Releases, Latest Department News, Newsroom

State announces four trusted testing partners in Korea

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige announced today that starting Friday, Feb. 5, travelers from Korea may bypass the State of Hawaiʻi’s mandatory 10-day quarantine if they take a COVID-19 test from a trusted testing partner in Korea. The test must be taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure and the test result must be negative.

In addition to the state’s program, effective January 26, 2021 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States.

For international travelers coming to the State of Hawaiʻi, only tests from Trusted Testing Partners  will be accepted for purposes of by-passing the state’s 10-day traveler quarantine.

On January 21, 2021, the President of the United States issued an executive order requiring, among other things, that masks must be worn at airports and on airplanes. The federal government is also contemplating additional measures relating to periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation and/or testing after entry into the United States. For the time being, the state is making no changes to the Safe Travels program.

“The pre-travel testing program is just one layer of the state’s comprehensive Safe Travels Hawai‘i program, which has served us well in protecting our residents and visitors. We are excited to safely welcome back travelers from Korea,” said Gov. David Ige.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Honolulu welcomed the launch of this program, saying that it will contribute to expanding people to people exchanges between Korea and Hawaiʻi while taking necessary safety measures.

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) has approved the use of the COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) conducted by a laboratory authorized by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) in Korea, for the pre-travel test. The following four trusted testing partners in Korea have been approved as of today:

“We look forward to welcoming our friends and family traveling from Korea and appreciate everyone’s efforts to travel safely with a pre-test. The Safe Travels Hawaiʻi program has allowed our state to restore hope and some economic recovery while balancing the health and safety of our residents and visitors,” said Hawaiʻi’s Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

“We continue to inform visitors before and after they arrive in the Hawaiian Islands to make them more mindful and aware about their responsibility to keep themselves and our residents safe,” said John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “HTA will work with Hawai‘i Tourism Korea to expand collaboration with airlines, and will also work with Korea’s leading industry and brand partners to develop sustainable travel themes to Hawai‘i that comply with our State’s travel policies and guidelines.”

“We welcome the international expansion of the pre-travel testing program to South Korea. It will enable more guests to travel on our Incheon-Honolulu flights and help generate important economic activity for our state while keeping our communities safe,” said Theo Panagiotoulias, senior vice president of global sales and alliances at Hawaiian Airlines.

Korean nationals traveling abroad are still subject to a 14-day quarantine upon their return to the country. Travel restrictions on U.S. travel to Korea remain in place.

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Media Contacts:

Jodi Leong

Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0043

[email protected]


Cindy McMillan

Communications Director

Office of the Governor

Office: 808-586-0012

[email protected]