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SITUATION ON GROUND

Vanuatu is currently experiencing its first community outbreak, after two years of being COVID-19 free.

The Ministry of Health is currently managing the overall covid response plan, along with other key Government stakeholders.

To obtain additional situational updates in Vanuatu, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website.

 COVIDLEVEL3

 

WHAT MEASURES HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE IN VANUATU

A nationwide lockdown was announced on 05 March 2022 by the national government and is expected to lapse by the end of this month.

Presently, all international inbound passenger travels by air and sea are currently suspended, including inter-island passenger movements, with the exception of international and domestic cargo transportation.

Air Vanuatu continues to operate its international cargo flight schedules, connecting Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Fiji to Vanuatu, under strict covid-19 protocols. The airline also continues to deliver seasonal workers to Australia and New Zealand, under approved health and border safety measures, such as testing their staff and passengers and ensuring full adherence to aviation safety requirements.

Only essential services approved by the National Health Emergency Operation Center (NHEOC) are able to operate locally at this time.

Vaccination is key to addressing the current outbreak and the potential for future reopening of the borders this year. It is of highest priority that all eligible population are vaccinated throughout Vanuatu, to meet set targets prior to relaxing some of the existing restrictions.

Vaccination status is released on a regular basis by the Ministry of Health, with tracking against the targets in the Vanuatu Roadmap to Opening.

Currently, three vaccines are offered for first, second dose and booster shots. These include the single shot Johnson & Johnson and the double doses AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. The Ministry of Health had announced earlier during the outbreak to procure the Moderna vaccine to start rolling-out the +12 years old population.

More vaccination centers throughout Vanuatu have been opened this month, allowing private clinics to also administer vaccines and undertake covid-19 tests such as Rapid Antigen Tests and PCR.

For more updates on the vaccination uptakes, we encourage to check the Health Promotion Vanuatu Facebook page.

vaccine rollout2

ROADMAP TO REOPENING

The Vanuatu Government announced a Roadmap to the Safe Reopening of the Borders earlier this year, describing the protocols to mitigate the risk of importation and spread of COVID-19 and containment measures for any in-country transmission.

We announced earlier that 20th March 2022 was set as the target date for the first activation phase of the roadmap. This will obviously be adjusted due to the current situation and we expect an official announcement from the Government in the days to come.

As we understand, the proposed phased approach to safe border reopening remains unchanged until further notice.

covid roadmap vangov

To access a copy of the Vanuatu Ministry of Health Roadmap to Safe Reopening of the Borders, please click HERE.

VANUATU SAFE BUSINESS OPERATIONS (SBO)

All businesses currently operating in Vanuatu are encouraged to undertake the Safe Business Operations Training and to develop COVID Safe Plans tailored to their respective business operations.

Modelled on many similar programs across Australia and New Zealand, the training program covers enhanced cleaning and protection measures, personal hygiene measures, and provides correct and information sources on Covid-19. This is the baseline requirement for all hospitality and tourism staff.

Everyone will be doing this from the Mama’s selling handicraft in the markets to bus drivers, housekeepers, and tour guides. Air Vanuatu staff are also active participants in the program as are airport staff.

Each workplace will have a COVID-19 safety officer. This person is responsible for safety in the workplace, liaising with authorities and staying up to date with Health messaging and guidelines. They will learn about the Vanuatu Alert Outbreak system and what it means for them as individuals and businesses. This is a enhanced level of training and responsibility.

What will this mean for visitors? Following the training each tourism business will be audited for their compliance to the training and the implementation of their COVID Safety plans. Visitors will see the certification certificates displayed at the entry points, they will be required to practice physical distancing and the same hygiene measures they would expect at home. They will also be required to complete sign-in and check-in requirements.

The certifications commenced earlier this year and is expected to run throughout the year to over 300 businesses in Vanuatu.

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