15 Jul 2020

Vanuatu govt extends state of emergency due to ongoing pandemic

6:56 am on 15 July 2020

Vanuatu's government has extended the current State of Emergency until the end of the year.

Emergency provisions were enacted in response to the covid-19 pandemic and a category-five storm which devastated parts of the country in April.

The state of emergency was due to have expired this month, but in recent days the Bob Loughman-led government decided to extend it to December 31st.

Meanwhile the government has also announced an unprecedented nine-day public holiday this month to mark Vanuatu's 40th anniversary of independence.

The decision appears unpopular with businesses which are struggling amid the economic downturn, but will still have to pay their employees for these new days off work.

The Leader of the Opposition Ralph Regenvanu said the decision is ill-advised and gives the wrong message about what independence means, adding that people have little money to spend on celebrations.

Waterfront at Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu

Waterfront at Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

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