Palau free of Covid and a marvel to behold

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Palau, totally free of Covid19?

Palau, free of Covid? A group of islands in the Pacific Ocean (Oceania) that’s one of the few places on Earth free from Covid-19 could become one of the first countries vaccinated the recommended 2 times for the whole population against the disease.

The Republic of Palau, an archipelago home to only about 18,000 people, received its first shipment of the vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Moderna on Saturday. Vaccinations started the next day, Palau’s Ministry of Health announced on Twitter. The first shipment included 2,800 doses of the vaccine, which will be administered in two shots, 28 days apart. Health care workers, key officials, and vulnerable groups will be among the first to receive the vaccine, according to the ministry’s statement. To date, Palau has not recorded a single coronavirus case or virus-related death, according to the World Health Organization.

See travel intro to Palau

 

Palau

Palau

In January, as the virus began to spread across Asia and the Pacific, Palau was among the first to implement stricter border controls. Its borders were entirely locked by March, and it began testing citizens for the virus by April.  Palau has access to the United States’ mass Covid-19 vaccination program, known as Operation Warp Speed.

The archipelago covers an area of just 177 square miles (459 square kilometers) — about a sixth of the size of Rhode Island, the smallest US state. That small size puts Palau in prime position to be among the first nations to be inoculated against Covid-19, according to the country’s incident commander of the Ministry of Health, Ritter Udui.”We are lucky to be in a position where we have access to vaccines through OWS, and our small size makes it easier for us to roll out the program,” Udui said. “It’s not compulsory to receive the vaccine, so our goal is to vaccinate about 80% of the population. We hope to achieve herd immunity (through the vaccination program).”Palau initially planned to have the vaccinations completed by May, but Udui said this deadline would “probably be extended” due to a slowdown in distribution from th provider. 

Palau Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts with the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the country, Dr. Sylvia Osarch.

Palau Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts with the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the country, Dr. Sylvia Osarch.

Palau chose the Moderna vaccine because it can be stored in a standard refrigerator, Udui said. At first, the island didn’t have the facilities to store the Pfizer vaccine at its required minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). However, Udui confirmed that Palau received at least one cold storage unit in late December, which can store up to 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Palau-closer-to-the-Pacific-than-ever

Visit Palau?

When you come to Palau, and to go there is a wise decision because here is wonderful and pristine, you get an Eco stamp in your passport that encourages you to look after nature, and it is written by the children of the islands! The gist of it is to thread lightly. The light footprints are the first words in your passport from the dream trip to Palau. That says a lot about the Pacific Island of Micronesia, but also about the growing understanding of tourist endangered places in Asia for the mass tourism (on this island 7x population ) destroys our beautiful nature, if you do not take care of places like Palau. There are so vulnerable.
Palau is  500 km away in the Philippines, where Boracay is underway with an impressive clean-up endeavor,  that seems to be successful,  combined with fewer tourists who are better suited to this island. That is the future. Eco-tourism is for the benefit of everyone, and frankly there is no other choice.

Travel to Palau, intro story

Source of vaccination part of this story: CNN, also photo of first vaccinated person.

 

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