TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese man sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to complete his alternative military service in Palau was refused transit in Guam because he had received Medigen COVID-19 shots, reports said Wednesday (Nov. 24).
While Palau allowed visitors to enter if they had been inoculated with the Taiwan-made vaccine, United Airlines reportedly did not allow the Taiwanese national to transit in Guam, CNA reported. Officials said that according to the United States territory’s regulations, if a traveler had tested negative for COVID within three days before his trip, and if his time in Guam did not exceed 13 hours, he was allowed to transit.
Yet, the U.S. and Guam did not accept Medigen vaccinations, and airlines maintained their own sets of rules regarding passengers. Lawmakers criticized MOFA Wednesday for its lack of foresight and wondered why it was still necessary to send people overseas for their alternative military service during the pandemic.
Due to the lack of frequent air connections to Palau, MOFA said it had sent a group of four by EVA Air to Tokyo, where they were to board a United Airlines flight to Guam on Nov. 21. The three other members of the group arrived for work in Palau on Nov. 22, according to officials.
MOFA said Wednesday that once the man’s 14-day stay at a quarantine hotel was over, it would try and send him to Palau again but via another route.