The Vanuatu Government’s second COVID-19 repatriation this week has been a success.
The government’s COVID-19 Joint Operation Team says the Vanuatu nationals and residents are now in quarantine in Port Vila.
The team told VBTC a total of 58 Vanuatu nationals and residents have been repatriated from New Zealand. All have been through strict COVID-19 regulations for entry into Vanuatu and have now started their 14 days of quarantine.
The Joint Operation Team’s Health Coordinator, Dr Basil Leodoro, says the repatriation has relied on huge cooperation between the repatriated travellers and the team.
Dr Leodoro says the team has handled the operation from the arrivals to the setting up of quarantine facilities well, showing they are now prepared to handle more repatriation flights.
Dr Leodoro says the team made up of the Health Department, the Vanuatu Police Force, the EzzyKill Pest Control company and Airports Vanuatu have done a great job because they have worked together.
Dr Leodoro says upon the arrivals, the nationals and residents went through Vanuatu immigration checks and then straight to pick-up buses that transported them directly to designated hotels for quarantine, led by the Vanuatu Police.
However, many locals have questioned why some of the pick-up buses had their windows open during the drive to the hotels.
In response, Dr Leodoro said it was safe to open the bus window as long as passengers were not touching passers-by with their hands or shaking hands with friends or families from outside the bus.
Dr Leodoro assured the public that coronavirus could not be transmitted through air but through droplets from an infected person’s mouth when the person is coughing or sneezing close to someone.
He said when the returning passengers arrived at Vanuatu quarantine facilities, the police were on stand-by to ensure that they would abide by regulations before they were given the keys to their rooms.
Dr Leodoro said families are allowed to pass those in quarantine food or gifts but these items may need to go through police clearance.
He said this will ensure people abide by strict the COVID-19 protocols that are in place under the current State of Emergency.
The next repatriation flight is scheduled for Monday next week.