The Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday provided members of the Palau Media personal protective equipment (PPEs) kits.

Last week, the Palau Media Council (PMC)has requested assistance from the MOH  to ensure media workers are adequately protected from COVID19.

“Despite the social distancing measures, journalists are in the frontline of keeping the public informed about the pandemic and governments’ efforts to combat it,” Leilani Reklai, PMC Secretary said in a letter to Health Minister Emais Roberts.

Reklai said the media needs the health ministry’s assistance to ensure “safety from the health risks that the novel coronavirus poses when covering on the field.”

In response, the MOH provided the council with 15 hand sanitizers, 15 washable cloth masks and 50 pairs of gloves.

The MOH thanked the media for its continued partnership and for promoting preventive measures in time of the pandemic.

“Although we have yet to see a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Palau, we must nevertheless remain vigilant in our preparedness and prevention efforts against the threat of the pandemic,” Ritter B. Udui, MOH Emergency Operation Center- COVID-19 Response Incidence Commander said in a letter to PMC Chairman Moses Uludong.

Journalists in the Pacific have expressed concern that  journalists, photographers, camera operators who cover the COVID-19 stories are not adequately equipped with most newsrooms having limited budgets to buy the protective gears.

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) last month urged its media members including Palau to “ensure a culture of safety for our media workers.” (B. Carreon)