By: Olkeriil Ngirudelsang
There will be no flight from Taiwan to Palau and back on June 7 as previously announced by President Whipps. At last week Wednesday’s press conference, Whipps announced that there will be a flight on June 7 bringing back Palauans who are currently stuck in Taiwan as well as Palauan students and embassy workers to be vaccinated at Palau’s airport then return back to Taiwan. The President added that talks were ongoing to include some of medical referral patients with critical health conditions on the flight upon its return to Taiwan.
This week, Whipps shared that due to rising cases of COVID in Taiwan and resulting restrictions, they are awaiting clearance from Taiwan CEC. Another potential issue would be a requirement for returning students to be quarantined which is the current protocol for returning resident and citizens.
“We are still in talks with Taiwan, I talked with the Taiwan ambassador; idea was that he was supposed to confirm last Monday so next Monday there will be a flight, it takes one week. Right now, we are waiting for them”. Whipps also added that “we are waiting for Taiwan CEC, it’s any day now; once they announce, there will be a flight the following week.”
As previously reported, there are 10 medical referral patients and escorts including 3 persons who were travelling to Palau and got stuck in Taiwan are awaiting their return home. One traveler who was travelling to Palau via Taiwan and is now stuck stated “tomorrow will mark our one month being stuck here”. Aside from what she has spent on her airline ticket and quarantine, she is now paying $3,575.00 on her apartment in Taiwan on top of money spent on food, toiletries and other expenses.
There are more than 80 medical referral patients waiting for the flights to Taiwan. President Whipps at this week’s press conference said that with opening of flights to Guam, he is looking at the possibility of sending Palau’s medical referral patients to Guam and Hawaii. He further mentioned the possibility of sending patients to the Philippines considering that most of Palau’s population have been vaccinated.