The Northern Marianas governor has signed an executive order declaring the commonwealth under a State of Significant Emergency and a State of Public Health Emergency.

Under the latest executive order, Ralph Torres detailed a two week government shutdown as well as announcing the banning of activities with over 50 people, recommended social distancing, and a travel ban for residents, with exemptions for health reasons.

The declaration was necessary to protect the health and safety of the CNMI, he said.

Mr Torres also announced the closure of the islands’ senior centres and the popular Thursday street market and the postponement of events like the Tagaman triathlon, Marianas March Against Cancer and Flame Tree Arts Festival.

The CNMI Public School System also extended its suspension of classes until 1 April to allow students who took part in a music festival in Guam to self-quarantine.

Over 100 public school students from the CNMI took part in the Tumon Bay Music Festival held in the latter part of February and early March.

Private schools who also had students take part in the music festival have also suspended classes until further notice.

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