Flag of Palau (Background photo created by www.slon.pics - www.freepik.com)

Video conference with experts and agencies handling the quarantine of Palauans being repatriated home from Guam is confirmed for 1pm today, Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The video conference was proposed during last Friday leadership meeting at Ngara-amayong Cultural Center, to address persisting concerns with  the possibility of the quarantine and testing process failing and allowing a COVID-19 carrier to enter Palau.  Meeting will bring together experts from Guam, Palau and possibly Taiwan with Palau’s leadership sitting in, to assess the quarantine and testing process.

Base on this video conference, any recommendations from the experts on how to further improve the process or to discard the plans to bring in the stranded citizens will be made to the leadership.

According to latest update from the Press Secretary of the President Olkeriil Kazuo, US CDC representative in Guam, Health Services of the Pacific Medical Clinic are confirmed for the video conference today. Taiwan CDC is invited to join in the meeting as well.

From Palau side, Dr. Emais Roberts and Dr. Victor Yano are confirmed.  Senator Dr. Stevenson Kuartei has declined joining the video conference.

Invitees from the leadership include Senate President Hokkons Baules, Speaker Sabino Anastacio, Chairman of Governors Association, Chairman of Speakers Association, Ibedul, Reklai and Minister of State, joining President Remengesau at the Office of the President at 1pm at Meyuns, Koror.

During the leadership meeting last Friday, the three premier doctors in Palau, Dr. Emais Roberts, Dr. Victor Yano and Dr. Stevenson Kuartei were asked outright by the leadership for their professional opinions regarding the planned repatriation of stranded Palauan citizens and students.

Dr. Yano said that based on a very “robust” process in place which is to quarantine the stranded citizens in Guam for 14 days, conduct 2 separate tests and when they arrive in Palau, be placed under a 14-day quarantine again and undergo 2 more tests, he would agree to the repatriation of the stranded citizens.

Dr. Robert Emais said that the Ministry of Health has been preparing itself from the very beginning for this and had followed all the experts’ advice and it is a responsibility it should undertake.

Dr. Kuartei said that despite the testing and quarantine process in place, he was still worried that a carrier may pass through without being detected by the process, citing incidents where Guam had released patients that were tested negative only to have them declared positive later.

The video conference proposed by President Remengesau during the leadership meeting, is to have experts on both sides of the table review the current process, identify weaknesses, fix them if they can and if not, recommend discontinuation of the repatriation process.