22 Jul 2020

Palau repatriation flight delayed after positive covid tests

9:20 am on 22 July 2020

Palau has delayed a repatriation flight after it emerged two of the expected passengers have Covid-19.

Palau flag

Photo: 123rf

The flight from Guam was scheduled to leave for Palau today with 87 Palauans, who have been stranded abroad since the pandemic forced border closures in March.

RNZ Pacific's Palau correspondent, Bernadette Carreon, said mandatory testing of all passengers ahead of the flight unearthed the positive cases.

Palau, one of those countries with no confirmed cases of Covid-19, repatriated a group of about 40 citizens from Guam last month

But because of the two positive cases, Ms Carreon said Palau would be revisiting its decision to scale down its repatriation quarantine requirements to one week.

"Because of the success of the first repatriation in June, it was supposed to be two weeks of quarantine in Guam but they scaled it down to one week.

"But I'm thinking that because of these two cases they want to put additional measures, which is another week of quarantine."

Ms Carreon said many of those due to be repatriated were returning from the US mainland.