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(January 30, 2020) Palau Ministry of Health has issued a health travel advisory strongly recommending against travelling to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau due to the outbreak of novel (new) coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China.

In the recently issued Executive Order 433, President Remengesau Jr. ordered temporary suspension of all flights from People’s Republic of China, including Hong Kong and Macau to Palau and restricted Palau’s government employees from travelling to these areas.  The latest travel advisory issued yesterday strongly recommends that travelers avoid non-essential travel to these areas.

As of yesterday, January 30th, according to latest information from the Ministry of Health, there are over 7,700 confirmed cases in mainland China and several countries worldwide, including 170 related deaths. At this time there are NO SUSPECTED cases of the 2019 Novel coronavirus in Palau.

The Office of the President would like to clarify that travel between the Republic of Palau and Japan, the Republic of China-Taiwan, South Korea, and Guam are NOT restricted.

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the official procedures being followed in these countries, and Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and the U.S Territory of Guam are all implementing health screening procedures and other preventative measures to avoid the spread of the 2019 Novel coronavirus.

The novel coronavirus is spread between people through the air by droplets, when coughing and sneezing, skin to skin contact, and physical contact with infected surfaces. Common symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. At this time the public is requested to remain calm, stay informed, and continue to practice proper hand-washing and coughing and sneezing etiquettes to protect themselves from infection.

MOH also advises anyone in Palau who has traveled through China within the past two weeks and develops respiratory symptoms and fever to contact the Emergency Room at the Belau National Hospital at 4882558 to seek immediate medical care.