9 Sep 2020

Vanuatu to Covid-19 test repatriates from high risk areas

3:45 pm on 9 September 2020

Vanuatu has confirmed that Covid-19 testing on repatriates from high risk areas in other countries will start this week.

The Daily Post reports this different from surveillance tests previously conducted.

The Director of Public Health in Vanuatu said the tests will be done twice a week after the repatriates arrive in Vanuatu, and while they remain in the government approved quarantine facilities in Port Vila for 14 days.

Len Tarivonda mentioned the areas slated as Covid-19 high risk zones in the Pacific at this point are Auckland in New Zealand, Victoria and New South Wales in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Strict Covid-19 prevention protocols are in place for incoming cargo in Vanuatu. April 2020.

Covid-19 testing on repatriates from high risk areas in other countries will start this week Photo: Vanuatu Airports ltd.

"Yes, the above are the Covid-19 high risks areas," he said.

Dr Tarivonda stated it is important to carry out the tests on all repatriates coming from Covid-19 high risk areas to prevent the deadly disease from entering Vanuatu.

"It is very vital because our country is still Covid-19 free, and so we have to make sure that every preventive measure is in place to keep coronavirus out of Vanuatu," he emphasised.

He assured Vanuatu is well equipped with the facilities to contain the coronavirus disease.

"We are well equipped and at the same time we must exercise every precautionary measure and the protocols as specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to keep Covid-19 out of Vanuatu," Dr Tarivonda said.

He added 160 repatriates are arriving today from Auckland, New Zealand. He said the majority of the repatriates returning today are RSE workers.

Dr Tarivonda said the rest are nationals and long-term residents who have been stranded in New Zealand since the Covid-19 hit the world at the beginning of this year.

Pacnews reports that he also confirmed there will be two chartered Air Vanuatu flights from Christchurch to Port Vila this weekend. One charter flight is scheduled for Friday and the second on Saturday