By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Palau, which held the distinction of being coronavirus-free for nearly two years, is now battling to contain the Covid-19 transmissions. The Ministry of Health and Human Services on Monday reported 149 new cases.
According to statistics from the World Health Organization, Palau had 502 confirmed cases as of Jan. 24.
Meanwhile, the China News Agency reported two imported Covid-19 cases from Palau, the first from the Pacific island nation.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung who heads the CECC, said the two patients are a woman and her young child, both Palau residents, who arrived in Taiwan on Jan. 22.
CNA said the woman, a Chinese national in her 30s who is married to a Taiwanese man, tested positive, along with her child, aged under 5, while they were in quarantine.
Palau is one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.
The Pacific nation, which has a population of about 18,000, lost its Covid-free status when it detected its first case only in August 2021.
Over the past weeks, however, the number of new infections in Palau has been rising sharply.
On Jan. 22, Taiwan's ambassador, Jessica Lee, donated medical equipment to Palau to help the nation's fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taiwan donated 10,000 Covid-19 antigen rapid test kits, 62,500 adult-size face masks and 10,000 child-size face masks.
"Along with these generous donations, the Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital sent a medical team to assist the Ministry of Health and Human Services carrying 10,000 additional antigen rapid test kits," accordiong to a press release from Palau government.
The donations from Taiwan supplement the medical supplies and PPEs provided earlier by the U.S. government.