Over 30 Chinese nationals are coming to Vanuatu from China on Monday, under CCECC. Previously for high-risk countries, the Vanuatu government steered clear from bringing more than five at a time.

That was the same for visitors in a professional capacity or citizens.

Although, with the announcement of 30+ Chinese entering from a place that is allegedly considered ground-zero for the deadly pandemic, the only positive takeaway I can see is that the government is easing up on its international restrictions, especially since the country in question is China.

Now these workers are coming into the country for big government projects, the announcement once more was caught through the grapevine and then verified on 96.3FMs 11am talkback show with Kizzy Kalsakau and the Director of Public Health, Dr. Len Tarivonda.

It may come as a surprise to many how the government temporarily ceased repatriations and the day it finally allows it, the first batch to come through are 30+ Asians.

Meanwhile, there are students who have graduated in Fiji last year and are still awaiting transport.

Here are some truths, we are increasing our COVID-compliance policies, we are introducing more stringent screening processes, we are considering suggestion from those who were repatriated in the past and we are making necessary changes to ensure that COVID-19 and any other variants related to the virus aren’t allowed to spread. These are some of the reasons why return flights were placed on a time-out.

However, now that we are ready to kick-start the repatriations and out of the utmost respect for all foreigners, I have to ask, “why are the Chinese coming first?”

True, they have work to do and the arrangements were probably made at an earlier date for the workers to come over, but in terms of optics, I have to point this out because the general public are also glaring at this big white elephant and definitely asking the same question, “why them?”

As difficult as it may be for us, we need to bring it back to the glass half-full perspective.

This is good news for us, despite the Chinese coming first let’s hope that our Vanuatu citizens/students in New Caledonia, PNG and Fiji, the three high-risk countries in the Pacific, will be following straight after.

Newsroom Opinion

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