Palau can increase its testing capabilities with rapid testing kits donated by Surangel and Sons, the government announced yesterday.

Minister of Health Emais Roberts Jr. said that the nation will be receiving rapid test kits donation through the generous assistance of Surangel and Sons Company.

Surangel and Sons have purchased 10,000 rapid test kits to help more people get tested. The test kits have been shipped and currently on its way to Palau.

Unlike the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR tests rapid antibody test kits use blood samples.

According to reports, such kits are not able to detect the COVID-19 virus. Instead, it measures a patient’s antibodies through the sample.

The waiting time for rapid test kits results are shorter and good to use when patients show severe symptoms and have no access to labs.

“I think our capabilities are building up and somewhere along the line, we can test everybody,” he said.

Roberts said Palau is shoring up defenses to deal with the pandemic despite having no confirmed cases.

He said more equipment’s are coming to boost Palau’s capability to address the virus if it comes to the nation’s shore.

With border closures and beefing up of responses, Dr. Roberts said we should “feel secure rather than being scared.”

He said that with two more PCR machines arriving and with CDC sending a Gene expert to Palau, preparation had been ramping up.

The Belau National Hospital also has 11 ventilators on hand with five more on the way.  Two ventilators are currently used for non-COVID 19 cases.

Palau now have on-site testing for COVID-19 capacity that commenced on Apr. 14 for targeted priority groups including frontline workers.

Since April 14, 66 tests have been conducted and all were negative.

Alternative Care Site (ACS) is currently being prepared to receive and care for critically ill suspected cases.

Meanwhile on Friday, a charter flight from Taiwan carried medical equipment and supplies worth more than $40,000 dollars donated not only by Taiwan government, but also from Shin Kong Hospital, Mackay Memorial Hospital, and Rotary Club in Taipei, Taiwan Ambassador to Palau Wallace Chow said in a statement.

He said the same airplane also brought back some Palauan patients from Taiwan and took some Palauan patients who need immediate medical treatment on the return flight to Taiwan.

“This shows a combination of efforts by the Taiwan government, medical professionals and private sector which has boosted the medical emergency preparedness of our brotherly country- Palau.”

He said the equipment and supplies include items such as ventilators, glidoscope for incubation, portable suction, oxygen mask rebreather.

The Taiwan Embassy added there will be more supplies coming to Palau, including face masks, infrared thermal scanners and medicine.