President Tommy Remengesau Jr. is expected to release an Executive Order today stopping from flights from People’s Republic of China and temporarily suspending flights from Macau and Hong Kong to Palau in response to the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus (2019 Novel coronavirus or nCoV) cases in the People’s Republic of China.

Yesterday, after the National Emergency Committee recommended to President Remengesau Jr. to prohibit charter flights from the People’s Republic of China and to temporarily suspend all direct chartered flights from Hong Kong and Macau until further notice, Remengesau directed his office to act on the recommendations immediately.

“Over 20 cities in the People’s Republic of China including Wuhan have confirmed cases ranging from all parts of the country and dozens more from the region.  Flights carrying passengers directly from those areas posed direct risk,” stated NEC’s report.

Remengesau in his response stated,” Palau’s isolation can give us an advantage in minimizing the risks of the virus’ entry and we’ll put it to use.  I commend our health ministry and all agencies for their vigilance and efforts in protecting our borders.  We will take action on all precautionary and preventive measures as recommended by the NEC and the Ministry of Health.”

There is no confirm nCoV cases in Palau as of January 27, 2020 according to Ministry of Health.

To date, there has been 2,118 confirmed cases of nCoV globally with 2,062 of them in China.  56 cases have been reported outside of China in 14 countries; Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Macau, South Korea, United States, Vietnam and Canada.

Fifty-six (56) deaths have been reported, all from within China.

World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared 2019 Novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak as an international crisis.

Ministry of Health continues to urge everyone to practice proper preventive measures in order to prevent spread of infections such as regular handwashing, covering your mouth with tissue or upper-sleeve of your shirt when coughing or sneezing and avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness. (L.N. Reklai)