Vanuatu’s second COVID-19 repatriation flight is arriving in Port Vila today from New Zealand.
Vanuatu’s Public Health Director and the COVID-19 Spokesperson, Len Tarivonda says there are more than 70 Vanuatu Nationals and Residents who will be returning from that flight.
“That number might increase because the numbers always change,” Mr Tarivonda said.
“We have informed their families on the strict protocols and procedures the repatriated nationals and residents will follow when they arrive at the airport in Port Vila. They are not allowed to meet their families.
“But we will process their passports and luggage and they will go straight into the arranged pick up buses with tight police security and go straight to the government’s designated quarantine facilities or the hotels, where they will serve their 14 days of quarantine,” he said.
The Public Health Director says these repatriated nationals and residents will follow strict precautions from the World Health Organization before they board the plane, while they are onboard and upon disembarking.
This is the second flight for Vanuatu’s stage one of repatriation. The first repatriation flight arrived last week from the Solomon Islands.
He says there are many Vanuatu Nationals and Residents overseas.
Mr Tarivonda says there are around 300 Vanuatu Nationals and Residents that will be repatriated during this first stage of repatriation.
“And all will be returning from five different countries, New Zealand, which is today, Fiji hopefully this week or next week, New Caledonia, Australia and those repatriated from the Solomon Islands last week,” he said.
Director Tarivonda says “the National Disaster Management Office with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing a medium to long term repatriation plan that will look at other categories of our people that are overseas, like seasonal workers in New Zealand and Australia and our students studying abroad.
“The repatriation process might continue until the end of this year if the Coronavirus continues to stay,” said Mr Tarivonda.
Prime Minister Bob Loughman has recently announced that the first stage of repatriation will finish by the end of June.
He said the second stage of repatriation will kick off on the first week of August and this includes the other category of Vanuatu people that are overseas, such as seasonal workers from New Zealand and Australia and Vanuatu students studying abroad.