The Chinese Embassy yesterday officially handed over Vt60 million worth of COVID-19 related equipment flown from China to the government and at the same time, presented a further Vt12 million cheque towards COVID-19 and TC Harold recovery efforts.
Prime Minister (PM) Bob Loughman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Health, members of the COVID-19 Task Force including officials from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) were at the Prime Minister (PM)’s Office to witness the handover and presentation of cheque.
China has provided approximately over Vt130 million worth of assistance to Vanuatu for COVID-19 and TC Harold so far and will provide more, said the Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Zhou Haicheng.
“China won’t be absent in Vanuatu’s reconstruction efforts of TC Harold. The Chinese Embassy has provided boats, solar lights and food as part of its first patch of assistance,” said Ambassador Zhou.
“China is more than ready to work together with the international community in solidarity to support Vanuatu’s efforts in post-disaster recovery and defeating COVID-19.
“China will stand firmly with the Vanuatu Government and people in the fight against COVID-19 and TC Harold.”
In his response, PM Loughman thanked the Chinese Government, authorities of Foshan City, Guangdong Province and the Chinese Embassy for technical and financial support in ensuring the much-needed equipment reach Port Vila.
He said: “I have to admit that the country was not ready to take up an additional health challenge apart from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).”
“The donated equipment will change the whole landscape of delivering quality healthcare in the country.
“Quality healthcare service delivery is what we need but unfortunately we do not get it here because of several factors and affording them is probably the main challenge however, your donation will address this gap. I want to call onto the health authorities, particularly those who will be using this equipment to take extra care when using them.
“The equipment will be distributed to the two main referral hospitals of the country, with assistance from our other donor partners will be able to complete our preparations to accommodate any suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.”
PM Loughman said with these medical equipment, the COVID-19 Advisory Team and the Ministry of Health can now start drawing plans on how to start repatriating citizens stranded oversea.
Over 200 Vanuatu nationals oversea cannot be brought back home because we (Vanuatu) do not have the necessary equipment and facility, said the PM.