A private investor, Horizons Holdings Group Co. Ltd., based in Cambodia, donated 4 tons of medical equipment and supplies to Palau and chartering Lanmei Airlines to bring in the cargo on Wednesday.
The investors are friends of Speaker Sabino Anastacio and Senate President Hokkons Baules, confirmed Speaker Anastacio in a phone interview with Island Times yesterday. He said they were not business partners, just private investors. “We told them we needed assistance and they came to our aid. It is not only countries but also many private persons and investors that are friends of Palau helping us during this pandemic,” expressed Anastacio. “We should express our appreciation to all of them, foreign individuals, foreign investors, even the group that is just praying for us,” he added.
The four tons of cargo consisted of 1 Real-time PCR machine, 1 Automatic Extraction machine, 1 H-1600R High Speed Refrigerated centrifuge machine, 5,000 test kits for real-time PCR, 5 ventilators, 5 Dina-Map: vital monitoring equipment, 10 Pulse oximeters, 210 forehead thermometers, 130,500 masks, 5,050 gown/full body suits, 5,200 eye shields, 5,500 hand gloves, 500-foot gloves and 30 medicines.
Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts reported that the cargo was offloaded and taken to ARRF area for storage quarantine before they are brought to Ministry of Health.
“We were able to look at the equipment and supplies and they looked good. The products are sourced from different countries including United States, Australia and China,” reported Minister Dr. Roberts.
“Disease knows no boundaries. We started out with nothing but our friends have helped us until today where we feel more confident that we are prepared,” stated Roberts regarding the donations of supplies and equipment that Palau has been receiving.
A copy of a letter from the Horizon Group to Senate President Baules and Speaker Anastacio, obtained by Island Times explaining the delay in the delivery of the items, states that they have been trying to procure the supplies and equipment as quickly as possible but due to worldwide demand for the same items as well as tightened customs requirement by China for exported COVID-19 supplies, the delivery had been extensively delayed.
“In addition, due to recent strengthening of the quality supervision of all exported COVID-19 supplies by Chinese customs, the time for clearance of these supplies has been prolonged,” stated the Horizon Group communication.
In response to complaints raised by some members of the public regarding government granting approval to Lanmei Airline to land and deliver cargo in relation to current policy of not allowing flights from China, Minister Emais Roberts said that this was a cargo plane carrying only cargo and a couple flight crew members. He said the banning of airlines coming from China was for the purpose of banning entry of people not the aircraft. He said this process is similar to the treatment of APA airlines bringing in cargo once a week.
Minister Robert said he felt more confident that Palau is better equipped and that after the testings, Palau may be able to loosen up a bit and consider bringing back its stranded citizens.