Prime Minister (PM), Bob Loughman, has confirmed that over 200 Ni-Vanuatu citizens are currently stranded overseas because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Unless the necessary equipment and facilities are available locally, the government cannot repatriate them yet, he said.
PM Loughman stated this when receiving COVID-19 related equipment recently from the Chinese Embassy in Port Vila. These equipment were flown in from China.
The Ministry of Health can start implementing its plan to address COVID-19 promptly with this assistance from China and other medical supplies, he said.
The COVID-19 Advisory Team and the Ministry of Health can start drawing plans on how to start repatriating stranded citizens, said the PM.
China was one of the first donor countries to respond to Vanuatu’s request immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic and was subjected to criticisms, said the Director General (DG) of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Chinese Ambassador to Vanautu, Zhou Haicheng, said: “Coronavirus respects no borders and does not discriminate.
“People of the world must work together to conquer COVID-19. At the height of the challenge of COVID-19, the government and people of Vanuatu sent sympathy and support to China.
“We were deeply touched and will never forget.
“Now Vanuatu is fighting the double challenge of COVID-19 and TC Harold. We related to what Vanuatu is going through.
“Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the Chinese Government has adopted the most comprehensive, stringent prevention and control measures to contain the spread of the virus.
“Now the situation in China has been under control. Life and work are quickly returning to normal.
“Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will continue to help other countries in need (against) this common threat,” the Ambassador assured.