By: Olkeriil Ngirudelsang

Referral patients remain in limbo as flights from Taiwan have been cancelled due to recent covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan. At this week’s press conference, President Whipps stated that “we don’t have the option of sending our patients to the Philippines at this time” 

“In fact, I talked to the Taiwan ambassador yesterday who said if there will be a possibility of flight, it will only be critical patients who will go; also the space available there is restricted” said Whipps. “That’s the reality situation we’re in. We also have patients that need to come home and other citizens who are quarantined in Taiwan and were supposed to come back on the 22th of May”

There are 3 Palauans who were planning to come to Palau via Taiwan and are currently stuck in quarantine. Five patients and escorts are also due to return while over 40 people are on the waiting list to seek medical help in Taiwan.

Island times was also able to reach out to one Palauan who was traveling to Palau and is currently stuck in Taiwan who said “I have spent about $5,000 dollars for my flight and quarantine. We have completed quarantine but are not sure when the next flight to Palau is, that amount of spending could go up and we are running out of money.”

Whipps shared that “we have to work with China Airlines to bring our citizens from Taiwan back to Palau but it also requires that there will be enough passengers; if not we will have to go through the charter route which we will have to find funds for that.” He added that “ talks are ongoing with Taiwan CEC to see if our patients will be able to go to Taiwan.”

According to recent reports from Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Control Center that was published on May 18, there were 335 covid-19 cases in the country as a result of the recent outbreak. 333 were indigenous while 2 were imported from Haiti and the Philippines.

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