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After a nearly two-year, COVID-19-driven hiatus, Chile's Easter Island welcomed tourists back this week with the first flight landing Thursday.

The popular Pacific Ocean island tourist destination had restricted foreign visits since the outbreak of COVID-19 breached Chile's borders in March 2020 and is now hoping that opening back up to the world will help mend its ravaged economy.

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“Eighteen percent of the population lives off public salaries and the other 82% depends on tourism: restaurants, boutiques, tour operators, hotels… everything,” Easter Island’s Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa told EFE.

Located about 2,300 miles west off the coast of Chile, the island is home to major tourist attracts including its flower necklaces, traditional dances, and its Moais — stone statues of human figures believed to have been built hundreds of years ago. The isolated island has a population of about 8,000 people and historically relied on the roughly 160,000 tourists that would visit each year.

Giant volcanic rock statues called Moais are shown on Easter Island in the South Pacific. (AP Photo/La Tercera, File)

In March 2020, the Chilean Health Ministry ordered a lockdown of Easter Island, a territory of Chile, after COVID-19 was discovered on its mainland. During its time closed off from the world, Easter Island reported a mere two COVID-19 cases, according to MalayMail.

Easter Island reopened Monday and plans to allow tourists in gradually with about two flights a week to start before expanding in the future, tourism official Veronica Kunze told reporters.

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Officials have taken steps to shore up its local hospital systems ahead of the opening, and incoming tourists will be required to be fully vaccinated and have a negative test to gain entry, according to Kunze.

Tourism News Chile Coronavirus pandemic

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Who is Natalie Morales’ husband Joe Rhodes?

JOURNALIST Natalie Morales shares screen time with several other co-hosts on The Talk.

When she's not moderating The Talk with Sheryl Underwood and Jerry O'Connell, fans are curious to know more about Natalie's off-screen relationship with her husband Joe Rhodes.

2Natalie Morales and Joe Rhodes frequently share snapshots together on InstagramCredit: Instagram/nataliemoralestv Who is Joe Rhodes?

Joe Rhodes married CBS Mornings and 48 Hours anchor Natalie Morales on August 22, 1998.

Rhodes is a founder and contemporary Managing Partner at Stockton Road Capital LLC, according to Live Ramp Up.

Morales and Rhodes live in Hoboken, New Jersey, with their family and rescue dogs.

Morales revealed on Instagram at the beginning of 2021 that Rhodes had lost his father.

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"It has been a sad start to the new year with the sudden passing of one of the most amazing people I knew, my father-in-law Joe Rhodes," she wrote.

"He was a wonderful father and grandpa. He loved and cared for his wife Kay for more than 52 years and as she battled Alzheimer’s.

"He taught us so much about love, character, and devotion. We miss you and will keep you close in our hearts always."

Rhodes' mother, Kay, passed in 2014 after battling Alzheimer's for almost two decades.

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The pair have two sons: Joseph Stockon Rhodes, born in 2004, and Luke Hudson Rhodes, born in 2008.

Morales suffered a miscarriage before she had her children, which she candidly talked about on The Today show.

She met with Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo for a private reading in which Caputo asked her who in her life had suffered a miscarriage.

Morales replied that she, herself, had miscarried a child, before breaking down into tears.

2Natalie and Joe share two sons together, one born in 2004 and another in 2008Credit: Instagram/nataliemoralestv

"Know that the soul that was lost is considered a child and that the souls do grow on the other side," Caputo told her.

"Did you know what the child was? Was it a girl?" Caputo asked.

"No, no," Morales replied. "It was very early, and I struggled with pregnancies."

Despite her initial "trepidation and some skepticism," Morales said wasn't immune to Caputo's moving messages.

Caputo claimed to have made contact with two other lost loved ones, including Morales' mother-in-law, whom she said had a message to pass along.

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