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 infected.
- 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 'Surveillance for COVID-19 in Vanuatu’ Information Sheet
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 encouraged.
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 RATs.
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.
For detailed information see our 'Testing for COVID-19 in Vanuatu’ Information Sheet