BY: Olkeriil Ngirudelsang
Palauans stranded in Taiwan will be able to come back home in a chartered flight that’s scheduled to arrive on June 7th. This charter flight is also bringing Palauan students studying in Taiwan to Palau to get them vaccinated.
“Our students and those at the embassy will come to Palau on this charter flight; get vaccinated at the airport then return back to Taiwan” said President Whipps at this week’s press conference. He further clarified that “they are not allowed to go out” of the airport. “If they would like to have a vacation, they can, but they will go through quarantine for 14 days.”
There are about 30 students who are planning to come on this flight and more than ten are planning to come for vacation according to one Palauan student studying in Taiwan. As previously reported, there are 10 patients and their escorts who have completed their medical referral treatment and have been waiting to return. Three others who got stuck while traveling to Palau via Taiwan will also board this flight.
When asked if the Palauan students will pay for their own quarantine cost, Public Health
Director Madraisau shared that it depends on the availability of funding. As for returning medical referral patients, President Whipps said “Our patients from Taiwan will be quarantined for 14 days; we have arranged their place and the Ministry of Health will take care of their quarantine cost. That includes our citizens who were traveling to Palau from the US via Taiwan and got stuck; their quarantine in Palau will also be covered.”
There are currently 54 Palauan students in Taiwan. All students, Palau embassy employees in Taiwan, as well as medical referral patients are allowed to board this charter flight that is capable of transporting up to 160 passengers.
There are more than 80 patients on the medical referral list to Taiwan and Palau is in talks with Taiwan to allow this flight to take some patients to Taiwan upon its departure from Palau. This depends on the availability of hospital beds which are currently limited due to Taiwan pandemic measures.