This weekend after a report of Guam’s first fatality due to COVID-19 and nearly 100% increase in confirmed cases in one day, Palau immediately stopped the United Airlines flight to Palau on Sunday night while it put into place additional measures to prevent the potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus to Palau.

Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts announced yesterday that United Airlines flights to Palau that were scheduled for Monday March 23 to March 25 are also cancelled while Palau prepares itself to quarantine incoming passengers on the once-a-week United Airlines flights scheduled to start Thursday of this week.

Japan Airlines will continue its remaining charters this week with the last flight coming on the 28th to pick up their last passengers.

In addition, Minister Roberts reported that three hotels have agreed to have their facilities used as quarantine sites for incoming passengers who will need to be quarantined for 14 days.  According to Minister Roberts, the passengers upon arrival at the airport will be bused directly to the hotels where they will remain for the duration of the quarantine.  Food will be delivered to them by the medical personnel and security will be on site to ensure compliance.

“The people who will be in these quarantine sites(hotels) are not necessarily positive for COVID-19.  These are people who are suspected but not identified as positive and need to be quarantined for 14 days.  The positive cases that do not have severe symptoms will be quarantined in an alternate site at Kalau Gym.  Those that are very ill will be in the isolation rooms designated at the hospital,” explained Roberts.

Requests for COVID-19 tests kits have been sent to various international partners.  Minister Roberts said that it is only a matter of availability of supplies and transportation before the tests arrives.  In lieu of this, he said these preventive actions such as stopping flights, setting up quarantine sites, stopping schools and others are necessary measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

Schools will remain close. Center of Aging will also be closed but food will continue to be delivered to the homebound elderly.