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One of the Final Places Without COVID Reports First Cases

2 arrivals from Hawaii are in quarantine in Marshall Islands
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2020 7:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – A remote Pacific nation has finally been touched by the coronavirus. The Marshall Islands reported its first positive cases on Thursday, saying two workers at a US base on Kwajalein atoll tested positive after arriving on a military flight from Honolulu on Tuesday. The 35-year-old woman and 46-year-old man's cases—both asymptomatic, per the Guardian—were detected during a required three-week quarantine at the base, so officials say there is currently no risk of spread to the population of 55,000.

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"Schools will continue, shops and businesses will remain open and government operations will continue until further notice," the government said. Still, citizens should "continue their preparedness" by stocking up on two to four weeks of food and medicine. It's thought that an outbreak in the country—made up of two chains of coral atolls and more than 1,000 islets—would devastate the healthcare system. In Guam, where many cases have been linked to the US air force base, wards are already maxed out, per the Guardian. Only Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are now thought to be coronavirus-free, per the BBC. (Read more Marshall Islands stories.)

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