Today’s update focusses solely on health which is pillar 1 in the Tourism Crises Response & Recovery Plan (TCRRP). This is the safeguarding of the health of our citizens, workers, residents, and visitors.
This is to enable Vanuatu to safely accept the movement of people from countries that have zero or minimal cases of COVID-19, and to have confidence in our domestic public health systems and facilities.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) continues to lead Repatriation Operations for the Vanuatu government. The MOH has been conducting its operations and quarantine processes under the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO).
MOH has been coordinating its operations from its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Port Vila.
The only international port of entry by air is the Bauerfield International Airport on the island of Efate. Being the single port of entry for the country, the Ministry of Health is working very closely with the SHEFA provincial authorities to coordinate repatriation flights using an all-sector approach. MOH is also working very closely with Border Control agencies, Vanuatu Police Force, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and hotel operators to ensure that quarantine facilities and their staff, and the quarantine process is maintained to minimize risks.
Last week the regulation order for repatriation was amended to cater for repatriation by sea too, so now repatriation can be done by both air and sea, with Port Vila being the only designated port of entry by sea.
The Department of Tourism is engaged with the MOH and SHEFA Provincial Health authorities and its partners, to ensure a smooth and safe transition into borders opening.
Business readiness will be ensured through a collaborative approach that will include staff training, facility risk assessments and on-going infection control and prevention assistance for each establishment. Operators in the tourism industry will be guided by the MOH and WHO throughout the preparedness and prevention phase of this COVID-19 pandemic.
The MOH and SHEFA Provincial Health authorities will lead Vanuatu’s response if we enter a scenario where a positive COVID case is declared. Along with the TCRRP, implementation response plans are also being developed with Area Councils, line agencies, Ministries, the Health Technical Advisory Group (HTAG) and the national COVID Advisory Committee to formalize, implement, train and test health protocols for each of the COVID scenario’s.
Please send any questions on tourism recovery by email to [email protected] and we will do our best to answer your questions in next week’s update.