Taiwan Foreign Minister Wu meeting with local press, Kambes Kessler of Tia Belau, Leilani Reklai of Island Times, ROC Minister Joseph Wu and Bernadette Carreon of PACNOTE.

Taiwan remains hopeful that a travel bubble with Palau will finally get underway, but Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the plan is not without challenges.
In an interview with local reporters here in Palau last week, Minister Wu said there are many Taiwanese primed to travel but strict measures should be implemented to protect both countries from COVID-19.
“There are factors to be optimistic about, but there are also challenges that we need to face and take care of, Wu said.
Minister Wu who was in Palau to attend the inauguration of President Surangel Whipps Jr. said that Taiwan share the nation’s optimism and desire to begin the travel bubble.
With 23 million people locked in Taiwan for more than a year, people are dying to go out for tourism or relaxation. And if Taiwan is COVID-safe, and Palau is COVID-free and if we are able to establish that sterile corridor or travel bubble, I think Palau is going to attract a lot of Taiwanese tourists and those who want to go abroad for some enjoyment,” Wu said.
During President Whipps inaugural address, he announced that the “sterile corridor” will make Palau and Taiwan become two of the first countries to fully reconnect since the pandemic.
“The “sterile corridor” between our countries will revitalize personal, medical, educational, and business relationships between our countries. It will boost Palau’s economy, in our time of desperate need. Perhaps most of all, it will show the world the strength, and depth, of this bilateral partnership. For the purposes of COVID-19, a trip through the new sterile corridor will be like taking a domestic flight,” Whipps said.
But Wu said strict measures and an expensive COVID-19 swab testing and quarantine could discourage travelers from coming over to Palau.
Wu said also requirements of social distancing on the plane will be another challenge to tourists as it could drive the airfare prices up because airlines cannot sell all seats.
Taiwan also apply strict measures to avoid an outbreak.
Minister Wu however is more optimistic that the bubble will be up and running soon given that Palau has started vaccinating most of its population and that discussions will continue to plan out the arrangement.
Wu said if the travel bubble does finally happen, both countries will be proud of being the first countries in the world to do that.
But according to reports yesterday, Taiwan will have to quarantine at home thousands of people to contain a domestic cluster of COVID-19 connected to an outbreak at hospital in northern Taiwan.

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