On June 26, the National Emergency Committee announced that all 58 repatriated citizens have undergone another testing for COVID-19, and the results are negative once again.

“Every time we got our results back and they were negative, we’d message our group-chat saying ‘Thank goodness!’” one repatriated male student from the University of Guam said.

On the same day, the 2-week confinement in the quarantine sites came to an end, and the repatriated citizens were allowed to return home to their families. However, the National Emergency Committee is emphasizing an additional 2 weeks of self-quarantine, during which the repatriated citizens will monitor their health and limit their movements and social contact as much as possible. They will undergo a final test on the 7th day of their self-quarantine.

Although reunited with their families, many of the repatriated citizens say they are still readjusting to life back in Palu.

“The environment is different here, so I just need to take time to get used to things again,” said a repatriated female student from the University of Guam.

“It’s nice to be back home with family,” said a male repatriated student. “But after months of not being able to comfortably be around people, it’s awkward freely interacting, even if it is close family.”

This journey has been quite an experience, he said. He emphasized that he, along with the other repatriated citizens, understand the concern many in Palau had with the incoming flights. But he’s thankful that the leaders of Palau were able to come up with a system to bring them all safely home, and for the frontliners for their professionalism and positive attitudes. 

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