The Government has acknowledged key workers who have risk their lives to keep Vanuatu still free of COVID-19 and their families for supporting them.

Despite the lockdown, border control officers are still going out to facilitate repatriation at the ports of entry, health officers were monitoring repatriates in quarantine as force members continue to maintain law and order. 

These officers have sacrificed their daily activities at work or home to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. They have been exposed to stress and immense pressure when delivering frontline services. 

A total of 16 flights handled in the first repatriation phase has brought back 1, 528 citizens and residents from several countries in four weeks. 

While addressing yesterday's occasion to officially end the quarantine process for the first repatriation phase, Minister of Health, Silas Bule, commended the key workers for their selfless service and dedication to protecting citizens on behalf of the government.

“You have faced criticisms and complaints when completing the first repatriation phase. These criticisms should be regarded as stepping stones for improvement in the second repatriation phase.

“It was not easy as COVID-19 pandemic was a new situation. However, I want to say that I’m proud of the work done," he said.

Appreciation was conveyed to staff at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and High Commissions and Consulates abroad, Vanuatu Police Force, Vanuatu Mobile Force, Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Vanuatu Ltd, Immigration Department, Biosecurity, Customs and Inland Revenue.

The management of the approved quarantine facilities are also acknowledged for feeding and taking good care of the repatriates and the repatriates are commended for compliance to the quarantine rule.

All members of the general public are also applauded for complying with the COVID-9 social distancing and hygiene measures in place. 

Minister Bule appealed to communities to welcome and support the repatriates before presenting each of the final repatriates with quarantine letters yesterdays.

The spokesperson for the repatriates who stayed at Holiday Inn thanked the government for bringing them back home.

The second stage of repatriation will start after the first week of August.

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