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Special agents comb more than 3,000 hotel rooms for quarantine violators

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    O’AHU, Hawaii (KITV) — On Friday, special agents with the attorney general’s office scoured 10 hotels, primarily in Waikiki, for quarantine breakers.

During the operation, which covered 3,200 hotel rooms, agents worked with hotel security staff to identify guests subject to the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine.

“It (the operation) was also to educate the tourists that are here visiting our island, and to let them know that the quarantine is important,” Deputy Chief Special Agent Paul Jones said.

Hilton Hawaiian Village was one of the locations the agents searched.

Angela Keen, the founder of watchdog organization Hawai’i Quarantine Kapu Breakers, praised the Hilton for what she considers effective protocol, such as assigning guests who need to quarantine to the same floor to help investigators locate potential rule-breakers.

“I think that’s the best way to do it, not all the hotels do that. They’re a bit wishy-washy with the regulations,” said Keen, who argued tracking own locals returning home is more difficult than monitoring tourists, “because they’re not always where they say they are.”

“It’s easier for them (locals) to slip under the radar and more difficult for the Attorney General’s investigators to find them because they actually have to catch them breaking quarantine,” Keen added.

Locals returning home, Keen added, are a bigger threat of spreading the virus because they often make immediate contact with the community, “mingling with family members, household members, and others, which is a big risk,” Keen said.

Since the pandemic began, 55 people have been arrested for breaking quarantine.

The Attorney General’s office said it will continue enforcement efforts until the rule is lifted.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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