After two years of battling the pandemic, Palau had not lost lives or had anyone admitted to hospital due to COVId-19 complications and had reached a 95% vaccination rate, placing it as the world’s most vaccinated country.

These attributes led Palau Media Council, the toughest critique of Palau Ministry of Health, to recognize the role the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) team of the Ministry of Health played that has had the most impact on the lives and livelihood of the people of Palau in the year 2020 and 2021.

The Palau Media Council recognized the challenge this agency faced in determining the protocols to implement to protect people’s lives during a pandemic, one that has killed millions and destroyed economies around the world, Palau included.

The Most Impactful Person/s of the Year award was the first-ever award issued by Palau Media Council and is expected to be the first of many.

Minister Gaafar Uherbelau expressed appreciation for the recognition of the hard work and dedication that the Ministry of Health people are doing.  It is a difficult job but he said that every member of the team had shown dedication far and above the call of duty.

Ritter Udui, Incident Commander of EOC, also echoed Minister Uherbelau’s statements saying that yes, “we are very very tired” because it has been a long and exhausting work but they can’t rest until it is over.  “We are only humans and sometimes it gets to us but we remind ourselves of our task and respond as you say “with professionalism”.  She said they don’t work for recognition but it is good to know that people can see and appreciate the work they do.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing and the work of keeping the people safe while opening Palau to recovery continues to be challenging, especially as more travelers are coming in while there’s a surge of OMICRON covid-19 strain.

Keeping calm and sticking to science has been the EOC’s signature modus operandi and maintaining it throughout the coming months is going to be necessary as people learn to live with and accept covid in their midst .

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