Congratulations to the Health Team and the team providing security at quarantine sites.
So far, these front-line staff have done a good and successful job. But the work must continue and it must continue to be done well and professionally. Incoming people at quarantine sites must not be allowed into the community until they have served the required time period and tested negative for COVID-19.
“Being COVID-19 free does not mean resting on our laurels,” Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Willie Tokon said.
“We must learn from our next-door neighbor countries including Fiji, which is reported to have just confirmed three new cases who are now in quarantine.
“Let us be on alert especially now with Vanuatu citizens still returning from our neighbor countries where there are still active cases of COVID-19. A few days ago, Fiji diagnosed three new cases who arrived from overseas and are in quarantine.”
Dr. Tokon delivers the warning at a time when seasonal workers in the hundreds are leaving for Australia and New Zealand. In addition, Vanuatu is still continuing with repatriation of its residents from overseas.
He says late reports from Australia in particular confirm a surge of COVID-19 cases in urban communities.
Meanwhile here at home, at the entrances of an increasing number of businesses in Port Vila, can be seen empty water containers which have not be refilled and no towel or paper for wiping hands.
This reflects a laissez faire attitude which seems to send a message of ‘why bother now when we in Vanuatu do not have any case yet’.
People have a habit to shrug off any such threat until it is too late to act.
But COVID-19 is not one of those normal threats that come and go because this one is a totally new virus to the world.
CEO Tokon is appealing to all business houses to ensure that health facilities complete with soap and towel are available at all times.
“We must be thankful to God for sparing our tiny country from its infection, while we continue to pray to the Best Doctor in the world to spare us from its deadly grasp.”
Reports from developed countries including America as well as countries in Europe, confirm thousands of deaths from the virus. This is because their societies have an extremely high number of senior citizens who are over 60 years old and when they are infected by COVID-19, it threatens to literally wipe them out.
Meanwhile, in the race to produce a vaccine to save their patients, medical scientists of pharmaceutical companies have started mass producing their vaccines and are already distributing vaccines to inject their entire populations in a race against the onslaught of the virus.
In the Pacific, American Samoa, Marshall Islands and Palau have started vaccinating their populations.
Vanuatu looks forward to this development so that international travel can re-open and life can return to some form of normalcy. Until then, the country must be on the alert.