Plans on when and how to re-open Palau’s borders is on the table for discussion by the leadership of Palau. 

”We cannot remain close. We need to adjust to the new reality,” stated President Remengesau Jr. during the leadership meeting yesterday at NgarAmayong Cultural Center.

“The new reality we face today is that we cannot continue to think that we can just bring home our stranded citizens and students and that’s it and our borders remain close.  A big issue to be discussed with the national leadership is that the new reality is not necessarily a COVID free world. The new reality is how do we better manage the challenges of COVID-19,”

expressed President Remengesau.

Remengesau added that no country can remain close forever. 

“The whole world feels this reality.  Yes there are risks of getting the disease but there are also risk to the wellbeing of the people, lack of food, job loss, loss of  businesses and loss of income for the people. Poor diet, increase in crimes as result of lack of food and lack of jobs.  These are some of the things we need to think about and balance and slowly look for ways to revive our economy and adjust our health system to the new reality”, emphasized President Remengesau.

The policies currently in place such as requiring anyone planning to come to Palau to get tested and be negative of COVID-19 virus before boarding a plane and to undergo the quarantine process are some of the measures to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 being brought into Palau.

The new Health Directive No. 170-20 amending  MOH Directive 90-20  further specifies quarantine and isolation protocols and spells out quarantine requirements for all international travel. More specifically, the protocols allow for differentiation of traveler from “high risk area” and jurisdictions deemed not to be “high risk area”.  The Directive also requires for Plymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test  of persons coming from international jurisdictions.

The focus this month is on the repatriation of citizens and students from Taiwan and from Guam. In addition, the arrival of US civic action team and the US Marines under the Koa Moana Operation this month. 

Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts said that the discussions are now on the ways to bring in essential workers, technicians, specialists and other experts needed to complete pending projects such as the airport renovation project, new waste management site and Our Oceans 2020.

There is no specific timeline yet in place for re-opening of borders for general traffic but the administration seeks to start discussion on the issue with national leadership. 

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