Palau has gone from zero COVID-19 cases to 167 in three days and 189 total. The vast majority of cases are imported. Shin Kong Hospital says over 90 percent of the local population is fully vaccinated and they will send medical workers to Palau on the 22nd.
The Taiwan-Palau tourism bubble was incepted last April, making Palau the only country Taiwanese people could travel to. Palau has reported 167 cases of COVID-19 in the last three days.
Hung Tzu-jen, Vice Superintendent, Shin Kong Hospital: “The (Palau) Omicron virus is like our Taoyuan Airport cluster infection. It came on quickly and urgently and fiercely. Palau is being impacted by the pandemic like Guam and seeing imported cases turn into domestic cases.”
Palau has reported 189 cases so far: nine domestic and 161 imported. Nineteen of the patients have already recovered. Shin Kong Hospital will send four medical workers to Palau on the 22nd. The team will bring testing equipment and 10,000 rapid screening kits. Hospital officials say there is no risk in traveling to Palau because government controls will keep Taiwanese tourists safe.
Huang Chien-hsien, Chief Epidemiologist, Shin Kong Hospital: “(Palau) is still safe. They are segregating people who need to be in self-health management from the general public. If you go there in the travel bubble and you have on your (tourist identification bracelet), you will not have any contact with local people.”
Hsiang Chien-lun, Senior Manager, PK Travel: “There is a 30 percent cancellation fee on the tourist contract for airfare and hotel fees.”
Travel agencies selling Palau packages say some tours between now and Chinese New Year are sold out but some customers are asking for refunds. However, this won't happen as Taiwan does not categorize Palau as a "Category 3" risk country. As the travel bubble has not been cancelled, the Central Epidemic Command Center says contract law applies to cancellations and refunds.