4 Mar 2020

Palau investigating possible coronavirus case

1:21 pm on 4 March 2020

Palau's government is investigating a potential case of Covid-19 coronavirus.

The capital of Palau, Koror.

The capital of Palau, Koror. Photo: Binter via wikicommons

The Ministry of Health said a woman, 73, from the US had "underlying conditions" and was in isolation at the Belau National Hospital.

The patient went to Palau with a visiting medical team.

The ministry is planning to send a patient specimen for Covid-19 testing to a Center for Disease Control laboratory today.

President Tommy Remengesau Junior issued a statement reassuring the public.

"Palau and our partners at the CDC are equipped to manage the situation should the patient receive a positive test. As in so many situations like this, fear, not a germ, is our biggest enemy."

Meanwhile, Palau is anticipating a further drop in tourism revenue with the president asking his ministers and government to "exercise financial caution" as they ride out what he calls a "black eye" amid the coronavirus fears.

Palau, which relies on tourism, has experienced a nearly 50 percent drop in arrivals in February and tourism officials say it's expecting a further drop in March.

The death toll from the flu-like disease has passed 3000 worldwide. The disease appears to be spreading more rapidly outside China, where the virus emerged.

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