How is the Ministry of Health monitoring for COVID-19 in Vanuatu?
During an outbreak where a disease is being spread in the community, the Ministry of
Health will conduct disease surveillance. Disease surveillance is the continuous, systematic
collection, analysis and interpretation of health-related data. It is used to detect, confirm,
and manage cases of COVID-19.
What are some of activities undertaken as part of disease surveillance?
Case Investigation: Surveillance teams conduct interviews to find out more
information about someone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and if
there is a chance they have been exposed, conduct laboratory tests to see if they are
Contact Tracing: The process of identifying people who may have been in contact
with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 and ensuring they stay in
quarantine to ensure they do not develop symptoms. Currently, we are focussing on
identifying and monitoring high-risk contacts.
Syndromic Surveillance: Collecting information from health clinics and hospitals to
identify any “signals” of disease transmission in the community.
Laboratory Surveillance: To monitor the level of testing, and positivity.
If someone is interviewed or tested it does not necessarily mean they have COVID-19. A laboratory test is required to confirm a COVID-19 case.
For detailed information please see our
How is Testing for COVID-19 conducted in Vanuatu? The most accurate test to diagnose COVID-19 is a molecular test (referred to often as a PCR
test), this is done in the laboratory and needs a specimen that is collected using a swab from
the back of the nose and throat.
Since March 2022, rapid antigen tests (RATS) have also been used in Vanuatu to identify
people with COVID-19. RATs are tests that can be conducted at the point-of-care (such as, in
a health clinic) and do not need a specimen to be sent to a laboratory. It provides a result in
about 15 minutes.
RATS worked best when people are showing symptoms, and the Ministry of Health suggests
they are only used with people that have symptoms. They can also be used for targeted
purposes, such as workplace screening for people without testing but this is not
Who will be tested for COVID-19 in Vanuatu?
All people admitted to hospital should be tested, using a PCR test, even if they do not have
symptoms of COVID-19. If they develop symptoms during hospitalisation, they should be
At health clinics, only people that have symptoms are recommended to be tested using
People entering Vanuatu will be tested during their period of quarantine.
Some people require testing in order to travel to another country, and these people can
access testing at VCH.
Those who meet the case definition This includes people who have clinical symptoms, and travel history or contact with a COVID19 case.
People who have recently arrived to Vanuatu from another country Testing will be conducted among all people who have recently arrived to Vanuatu (by sea and air).Testing will be done for all people who enter Vanuatu regardless of the country COVID19 status they came from. People will be tested even if they do not have symptoms.
For people exiting Vanuatu Some countries require travelers to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry to their country. Anyone leaving Vanuatu and requires a COVID-19 test, this can be organized through Vila Central Hospital.