Director of the Department of Public Health and the official Spokesperson on COVID-19, Len Tarivonda. Photo: File| Kizzy Kalsakau

The Vanuatu Government will start repatriating stranded citizens abroad soon, with the first flight from Solomon Islands expected this week.

This has been confirmed by the Director of the Department of Public Health and the official Spokesperson on COVID-19, Len Tarivonda.

The 14-days quarantine will not be applied for passengers on this first flight since Solomon Islands like Vanuatu is coronavirus-free, said Director Tarivonda.

Director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Abraham Nasak, confirmed in a statement that stranded citizens in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia will return as of this weekend.

“All returning citizens from countries with COVID-19 will go through 14-days in isolation in Port Vila during which the MoH will monitor their health as part of the quarantine measures imposed in Vanuatu," he said.

The statement from NDMO conveyed that the Minister of Climate Change has already signed the instrument to allow for repatriation to commence. 

The instrument of directors to government agencies relating to COVID-19 and TC Harold was gazetted last Saturday on the advice of NDMO and approval from the Council of Ministers (COM).

Under this No.77 of 2020, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU), Ministry of Foreign Affairs must ensure all Vanuatu citizens who are authorized to be repatriated be subjected to conditions and supervised by NDMO and the Ministry of Health.

Non-citizens authorized to travel into Vanuatu are also subjected to conditions.

MIPU must ensure that Port Vila International Airport is the only port of entry for purposes set out under the repatriation order.

Over 300 citizens of Vanuatu are stranded oversea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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