By Joyce McClure
16 more stranded Micronesians slated to be repatriated Wednesday
Sixteen more citizens of Yap who have been stranded in Palau are scheduled to be flown back home on Aug. 18, the first repatriation flight on that route, the state’s health officials announced Monday.
Two round trips are scheduled that day to bring them home. They will be transported by Pacific Mission Aviation.
All passengers must be fully vaccinated, test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departure, and quarantine for seven days upon arrival at ESA Hotel or YCA Apartments.
They will be under strict security and no visitors will be allowed. Testing will be conducted on Day 2 and Day 6. If all test negative, they will be released on Day 7.
The first four citizens of Yap who have been awaiting repatriation to their home islands arrived from Guam on Aug. 4 aboard PMA’s newly acquired Beechcraft King Air B200.
But approximately 100 Yap citizens remain stranded since the island closed its border at the end of March 2020.
Beginning Aug. 29, United will provide transportation for repatriation from Guam to Yap.
However, more than 20 of those who are stranded are in Palau, which has no commercial carrier service between the two islands.
“We will be doing that route for repatriation. Since both islands – Palau and Yap – are Covid-free, I can fly there without having to go into quarantine,” said Amos Collins, PMA director of flight operations, who piloted the Aug. 4 King Air flight. “
“For safety, we built a barrier between the pilot and the passengers and I’m able to load the plane with no contact. We wear masks and gloves and maintain social distancing. But the risk is very low since Palau has avoided the pandemic, too.”