To help create safer workplaces during the pandemic, and to better understand the spread of COVID-19 in affected areas of Vanuatu, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is implementing COVID-19 testing and reporting procedures for businesses
Businesses are encouraged to roll out Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs) within their organisation after obtaining approval from the Ministry of Health. To help streamline this process with current Ministry of Health procedures, the following requirements need to be met:
Submit a Notice of Intent to Test
Each organisation must submit a ‘Notice of Intent to Test’ by filling out this online form.The Ministry of Health will review the application and provide approval to commence testing.
Procuring Rapid Antigen Tests
RATs used by organisations must be privately procured. It is not intended that public stock be used to test staff. Imported RATs must meet all of the following conditions:
The rapid antigen tests to be imported and used in Vanuatu must be approved for use by at least one of the following authorities: World Health Organisation (WHO), the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), or the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).The rapid antigen tests must have a minimum of 90% sensitivity and 98% specificity for the diagnosis of COVID-19
If staff are unwell or have any of the below COVID-19 symptoms, they should notify their manager and not come to work.
If an individual becomes unwell at work, it is recommended that they are tested. Testing at work must be done according to the Ministry of Health’s recommendations outlined below.
It is important to note that testing people who previously had COVID-19 infection as a return to work policy is not a good measure of risk and is not recommended.
Testing for COVID-19 within the community by non-health organisations outside of these guidelines is not allowed.
Workplace Reporting Procedure
Daily testing totals for each workplace must be submitted to the Ministry of Health Surveillance team every day that testing is performed. The link to daily reporting can be found here.
The Ministry of Health must be notified of all positive test results that are identified through this workplace testing process. Please document positive tests with a photo of the test with the person’s name and date written on the test cartridge. The link for reporting positive tests can be found here.
Resources and Support for individuals who test positive for COVID-19
If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 at work, they should be instructed to isolate, and transport should be arranged for them to the appropriate isolation location.
Additional resources and support for isolation, including the length of time required for isolation and how to isolate safely are included below. The Ministry of Health encourages this information to be widely shared in the workplace, so all staff have an understanding of isolation procedures and where to find help.
A person with COVID-19 must isolate for seven days after the beginning of symptoms or, for asymptomatic cases, after the first positive test. After seven days, isolation is not recommended, and the person may return to work and daily activities (consistent with the current alert level) unless there has been fever in the last three days or symptoms are not improving. (Hospitalized patients will receive separate guidance from the treating clinician.)
A test should not be required, such as prior to returning to work, after COVID-19 infection. Positive tests are not a good indicator of infectiousness in the 90-day period after known infection.
All people must practice safe hygiene measures consistent with the alert level. With alert level 3, this includes wearing masks, distancing, and washing hands. This remains true regardless of vaccination status or recovery from COVID infection.
A person is eligible for a Certificate of Recovery/Discharge Certificate if they have had a documented infection, as defined above.
Unless the Ministry of Health announces changes based on emerging evidence, a recovered person does not require isolation when in contact with a positive case or screening for COVID-19 for 90 days after the onset of symptoms/first test.
Any person recovered from COVID-19 who develops symptoms of COVID during the 90 days only requires additional evaluation for COVID if recommended by a medical provider, such as when an elderly or vulnerable person has had contact with a person with COVID-19 and develops symptoms.