Ministry of Health confirms first two deaths linked to COVID-19

31 March 2022

The Ministry of Health today confirms two deaths linked to COVID-19. The first is a 22-yearold female and the second a child of five years old.

Both persons had underlying health conditions and presented very sick.

Vanuatu’s Minister of Health, Hon. Bruno Leingkone stated, “I extend the deepest sympathies of the Government to the loved ones of the individuals during this sad time.”

“The loss is deeply felt by the entire community. Now more than ever, each of us must do our part to reduce the spread of this virus, especially to our most vulnerable population”, he added.

COVID-19 can be a deadly disease – particularly for people with underlying health issues. People with underlying health conditions are at risk of getting severe disease and are being encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves. Their families are advised to take good care of these vulnerable citizens by any means possible.

Minister Leingkon said, “During this time of community transmission, I urge everyone to adhere to the preventative measures and advise from the Ministry of Health to keep ourselves and our community safe”.

The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the country and will do everything to help patients with COVID-19 in Vanuatu. Part of this is ensuring there is sufficient hospital capacity to manage the current and projected cases and have plans in place to boost capacity to respond to the needs.

One of the best things everyone can do to protect older and more vulnerable people, including family and loved ones, is to get vaccinated and get boosted.

The Ministry of Health emphasizes the importance of everyone in the community doing their part to slow the spread of the virus and protect those in communities who might be at higher risk of severe illness or death.

Those individuals who are at high risk of developing complications are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with underlying diseases e.g. heart conditions, Diabetes Mellitus, High Blood pressure
  • Those 55 and over and with underlying diseases For the above individuals if they develop the following signs and symptoms you are to take them immediately to hospital:MEDIA RELEASE Update from the Ministry of Health on COVID-19 Vanuatu first two deaths linked to COVID-19
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Confusion
  • Agitation or being irritable

Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of the virus include:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Get fully vaccinated and receive a booster when you are eligible.

Since the outbreak started on 4 March 2022, over 3,000 cases have been reported in Vanuatu.

More information about the coronavirus situation in Vanuatu can be found on www.covid- 19 webpage, Vanuatu Health Promotions face book page and COVID-19 free hotline number 119.

Contact details: Dorinda Bule, Communications Officer, Department of Public Health, Tel: +678 563 6472