Palau reports first two Covid-19 cases


Two people arriving in Palau on 15 August tested positive for Covid-19, the nation’s Ministry of Health and Human Services stated.

These mark the nation’s first positive active cases of the virus.

Ritter Udui, MHHS incident commander, confirmed that both travelers flew in from Guam. However, she was waiting to be briefed on their point of origin.

“We’ve started contact tracing and investigating,” she said on Saturday.

All known close contacts have tested negative for Covid-19 but Palau’s protocol requires they remain in mandatory quarantine for at least 10 days before getting tested again, according to the ministry’s statement. The travelers and all known close contacts are in isolation.

“We understand the public’s concerns, and we ask for understanding and cooperation as the Bureau of Public Health continues its work,” officials stated. “You will be contacted if investigation reveals that you have been in close contact with said individuals.”

The ministry defined close contact as being within six feet of a person who tests positive for Covid-19 for about 30 minutes without personal protection, including a mask, particularly if you were indoors or in a crowded area.

Health officials urged residents of the island nation to continue practicing preventive measures, including getting vaccinated, washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distance of six feet, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and staying home and calling the hospital for guidance if feeling ill.

President Surangel Whipps Jr has noted the near inevitability of the virus crossing its borders, which was one of the reasons for the extensive testing and quarantine requirements for travelers.

There currently is one flight a week between Guam and Palau. Palau also resumed their tourism bubble with Taiwan on 15 August with a flight of 130 Taiwanese visitors aboard a China Airlines flight. Palauan officials restricted the programme to people who’d already been vaccinated or were scheduled to be vaccinated in Palau.

This past summer, another traveler from the U.S. mainland had tested positive. That, however, proved to be a historic case, which occurs when someone who has had Covid-19 still has remnants of the virus, which are detected by tests.