Repatriation of Palauan students and stranded citizens is on schedule for June 11 and the community continue to be conflicted about the issue.
A video of a couple of students at University of Guam saying they were not stranded and are doing fine is circulating on social media and has reinforced some of the people’s resolve to push back against the repatriation effort.
An online petition is also being circulated seeking to stop the return of the Palauan students and stranded citizens in Guam on June 11, seeking to delay the arrival.
A video conference call between US CDC experts, Guam Governor Guerrerro, and Palau doctors and leaders as well as US resident Ambassador Hennessey-Niland discussed the work being done and the efforts to minimize the risk. CDC experts stated that the process being exercised by Palau “far exceeds” CDC recommendations for quarantine of COVID-19 and is “robust” process. The effort sought to address lingering fears regarding the repatriation efforts.
In a phone interview with Guam Consul General Vic April, he said that he had spoken with the students that made the video and one of them had expressed that they were upset with the label of being stranded. According to Mr. April, they said that they didn’t want to be labeled as stranded because they were in Guam as students and were not stranded.
Furthermore, Mr. April reported that two other students have opted not to come home because they were worried, given the length of time required for quarantine and the possibility of flights not resuming, they may not be able to return to school in the fall. They have made decisions to stay.
Palau’s Consulate in Guam is paying for room and board of the students currently staying at UOG dormitories. “We are paying the daily rates to the school. It is much cheaper than hotels,” stated Consul Vic April. The consulate was also paying for the hotel accommodations of those that did not have families to stay with. Those that stayed in the hotels before are now under quarantine at the designated quarantine hotel.
Some of the students have moved out from the dorms to live with relatives. 48 instead of 50 people are scheduled to arrive on the 11th.
Request to bring patients and their escorts from Taiwan is also being addressed at NEC with possibility of them arriving this month as well. According to sources, 11 people, patients and escorts, are expected to arrive from Taiwan.