Mandatory COVID-19 quarantine to date costs Gov’t Vt13 Million

The cost of quarantining around 60 residents and citizens who initially returned overseas is approximately Vt13 million, according to Acting DG Wabaiat. Photo Kizzy Kalsakau

The mandatory quarantine costs the Vanuatu Government had to meet for quarantining around 60 citizens and residents who initially returned overseas to date is approximately Vt13 million, said Acting Director of the Ministry of Health (MoH), Johnson Wabaiat.

These residents and citizens were quarantined at a hotel in Port Vila for two weeks.

Quarantine was mandated by the government to check for coronavirus symptoms. During the 14-days quarantine period, the government paid the accommodation costs, including the daily meals provided for each person.

Seven nationals who have been stranded in Solomon Islands returned home on Tuesday this week as part of the first repatriation flight.

They are being quarantined at an approved facility in Port Vila. The government will be taking care of them for 14-days at an approved facility.

A large number of citizens will be repatriated starting this weekend and will continue next week from countries like New Caledonia (NC), Fiji, New Zealand (NZ) and Australia. These nationals were oversea on short term visa.

Around 44 nationals will be repatriated from Fiji, 64 from NZ and 131 from Australia, said the Director of the Department of Public Health, Len Tarivonda.

He said seasonal workers will be prioritized in the second round of repatriation.

The list of citizens wanting to be repatriated has increased with requests from other countries like Philippines and Papua New Guinea (PNG), he conveyed.

Director Tarivonda said quarantine is a costly exercise as the government will be responsible for food and accommodation expenses for each individual.

According to Acting DG Wabaiat, the cost of quarantine will be meet by the government through the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO).

The repatriation process is expected to continue until the end of this year.

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