The National Emergency Committee (NEC) issued a press release on Wednesday stating that all 13 passengers of the incoming flight from Taiwan, which landed on July 7, have tested negative for COVID. The passengers include 4 referral patients from Taiwan, 4 of their escorts, 4 students, and a lab specialist from Shin-Kong Hospital in Taipei.

The passengers have been in quarantine for over a week, and this has been the second mass test for the group.

Ms. Lu-Chueh Ling, the pathology specialist who will be assisting the Ministry of Health by training local doctors and nurses in the screening process, has been released from quarantine following her negative test result.

The decision to release her after a week of quarantine in Palau, rather than the customary 2 weeks her fellow passengers will undergo, was made by the MOH as an assessment of the low risk she poses versus the greatly-needed assistance she offers to the frontline workers.

The NEC expressed that Ms. Lu-Chueh Ling, who is asymptomatic and has been declared COVID-free twice, poses little threat of transmission, and the benefits she offers to Palauan doctors and nurses in monitoring patients far outweigh this risk.

The NEC expressed that Taiwan is currently a place of very low danger when it comes to community transmission, with almost all of its confirmed COVID cases fully recovered, only 7 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, and no new recorded COVID case in over two months.

One of the referral patients was transferred from the quarantine site to Belau National Hospital for medical reasons. Although the cause was not specified, the NEC made clear that the decision to move the patient is “unrelated to COVID-19”, and that the patient remains COVID-free.

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