Update on COVID19 Cases and People under Investigation (PUI)

Four new confirmed cases as border quarantine case.

February 20th 2022. The Ministry of Health confirmed four new active cases of COVID-19 in quarantine. This brings the number of COVID-19 cases to 8 in the country.

Three of these new cases are close contacts of an infected passenger on the New Caledonia flight that arrived in Vanuatu on the 16th of February 2022. The other active case is a front line worker. All the contacts of the infected frontline worker have been in precautionary quarantine since 16th February 2022 and will remain quarantined until they are fully cleared by the health team.

To date all other frontline workers have been swabbed and have returned a negative result, however, they will remain in precautionary quarantine to complete seven (7) days from date of last contact of the active case.

The Ministry of Health has in place very strict COVID-19 protocol and monitoring measures that allowed identification and quarantine of all cases and close contacts at the border. The new measures include; the use of N95 masks for all inbound passengers and front-liners, mandatory for all front-line workers operating repatriation flights to have received their COVID-19 vaccine booster doses and precautionary quarantine for all front-line workers.

The precautionary quarantine measure permitted for containment of all possible close contacts thus lowering the risk of community transmission.

All active cases and people under investigation (PQ) are currently under quarantine and are strongly advised to strictly follow quarantine measures and protocols. Increased security of all quarantine facilities is instigated to lower risk of quarantine breaches and community transmission.

With clearance from the surveillance assessment and risk assessment report revealed that all close contacts well contained in quarantine and precautionary quarantine, therefore repatriation flights can continue with new operating front-line staffs.

There is currently no evidence of cases identified outside of quarantine or indication of COVID-19 cases in the community. Efate and Offshore Islands continue to remain at Alert Level 1 (medium risk) due to case at the border. The rest of Vanuatu remains at Alert Level 0 (low risk).

Without cases in the community, social public events and gatherings including school activities should continue as usual. However, everyone is encouraged to continue practicing good hygiene measures such as frequent washing of hands, avoid touching of eye, nose or mouth etc.

The latest vaccine coverage for Vanuatu is shows 66% of all eligible population who have received one dose and 49% have been fully vaccinated.

The best way to prepare and protect yourself, your family and your community is to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. WHO-recommended COVID-19 vaccines like AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson are safe and effective. They reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Moreover, in-light of the widespread circulation of COVID-19 Variants of Concern with higher transmissibility (Omicron) and higher severity (Delta) than precious variants, additional measures are required to provide increasing protection against the spread of COVID-19 in Vanuatu. Such increased protection includes obtaining booster shots. Vaccination operations will continue throughout the country. People are urged to come forward immediately to ensure they are vaccinated in a timely manner.

The public are urged to refer only to official information sources and avoid the spread of rumors and misinformation. Updates are available on www.covid19.gov.vu, on the Health Promotions Facebook page, and via the 119 Health Information Hotline.