Ministry of Health and Human Services reported 26 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1 probable case. The cases are tied to travelers that arrived in Palau in the first week of January and had transmitted quickly within the community.
The cases are mostly asymptomatic with few having mild symptoms and are receiving Tylenol for the symptoms. They remain in isolation in the hospital until their final test.
Although Palau has not had the virus strain identified, President Whipps on radio show said that it is assumed to be omicron based on how fast it spread. EOC Incident Commander Ritter Udui in a report for leadership on Wednesday said they still have to send out samples for identification in Honolulu but they assume it may be omicron but this is yet to be confirmed after testing.
The public outcry about the increased cases pushed the government to make changes to the measures currently in place. Starting Monday, the government will require testing 48 hours before boarding as opposed to the current requirement of 72 hours. It will also reinstate testing upon arrival and testing on Day 3.
A directive was issued to mandate mask-wearing in all government buildings, facilities, and agencies. Ministry of Education will be requiring all students, faculty, and staff to wear masks.
Some community members asked that the border be closed down temporarily until the government takes control of the covid spread. Others have requested that 10-day quarantine be reinstated.
Some that have been fully vaccinated and have received booster shots are still fearful of contracting the virus. Others are concerned about their unvaccinated children, especially infants that can’t be vaccinated.
Addressing Palau’s leadership on Wednesday, Dr. Emais Roberts said that vaccine works and is the most effective tool we have against this COVID-19 and the public should be assured of their protection.
The testing periods were shortened and increased based on Senator Dr. Kuartei’s recommendations. He also requested that public information be simplified and clearly stated for better understanding.
Dr. Victor Yano urged the people not to take the COVID-19 lightly but continue to exercise care and preventive measures as much as possible.
As of yesterday, 144 were under quarantine, 14 have recovered, and 27 were active cases with one probable case.