The Ministry of Health developed a Roadmap to Safe Recovery (version 3.1) in April 2022, which lays the path for returning to a ‘new normal’. The Roadmap defines a safe approach for reducing health restrictions to mitigate against the prolonged negative impacts of COVID-19 in Vanuatu.
The main aims of this phased approach are:
To ensure that severe disease, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 remain as low as possible
To move towards a ‘new normal’ in recognition of the negative social and economic impacts of prolonged restrictions
Transition to recovery and progression through three recovery levels depends on COVID-19 burden, health systems capacity and population immunity levels. Two criteria are defined for transition:
COVID-19 cases are decreasing, as indicated by a real and sustained decline in case numbers without any concurrent weaking of surveillance or reporting
Health system capacity is sufficient to adequately cope with COVID-19 with minimal stress
Once transition has occurred, progress through the recovery levels is governed by vaccination targets as previously indicated in the Roadmap to Safe Re-Opening of Borders and hospitalization rates. Different provinces and areas are expected to progress through the levels at different timepoints and at different speeds. While sequential progress through the levels is planned, it is possible that reversion to a higher level of restrictions may be required, such as if there is a new wave of infections from a more dangerous COVID-19 variant.
This Roadmap is intended to guide other sectors to develop their respective plans. Use of the health measures outlined will enable a cautious approach with the flexibility to adapt based on the evolving situation locally and internationally. Criteria for transitioning to recovery and between levels as well as the measures prescribed may therefore be subject to change.