On 26 March 2020 the President of Vanuatu signed a declaration for a State of Emergency (SOE) over the whole of Vanuatu for a two-week period, for the purpose of strengthening prevention and containment measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Since April the SOE has been extended multiple times for the dual purposes of continuing COVID-19 prevention and containment measures as well as responding to Tropical Cyclone Harold which impacted Vanuatu on 6 – 7 April 2020.
On Thursday 13th of July the SOE regarding COVID-19 was extended until the 31 December 2020, whilst the SOE for Tropical Cyclone Harold was extended until August 9 2020.
These SOE Declarations allow special powers as set out in the Disaster Risk Management Act No. 23 of 2019.
The following groups have responsibility for coordinating and implementing COVID-19 preparedness and response activities in Vanuatu:
National Disaster Management Office (NDMO): national coordination including intersectoral coordination and response management. The NDMO has assumed the responsibilities of the National Coronavirus Taskforce, which was dissolved on 20 March 2020.
National Cluster System: includes an Inter-Cluster (Chair: NDMO Director) and eight technical clusters (Education, Emergency Telecommunications, Food Security and Agriculture, Gender and Protection, Health and Nutrition, Logistics, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) responsible for coordinating within and between sectors.
Health Incident Management Team: day-to-day health sector operations (Chair: MOH Director of Curative and Hospital Services).
Hospital and Provincial Health Emergency Operation Centres: day-to-day health sector operations in facilities and provinces (Chairs: respective senior management).