A team from the WASH Cluster has been visiting businesses in Port Vila which include shops, restaurants, nakamals and any institution generating any form of revenue to ensure they are still complying with the hand hygiene order issued under the State of Emergency (SoE).

Under Director Order No.10, all business houses are required to have handwashing facilities or handwashing stations within their premises.

Hand washing facilities or handwashing stations means having: (1) soap, (2) running water, (3) method of hygienically washing hands without contaminating water, and (4) appropriate drainage at entrance to premises.

The Order states clearly that businesses found not complying will be shut down for 24 hours. If businesses continue to breach the order, they will be shut down for the duration of the SoE. The SoE ends on December 31.

Due to the lockdown placed on Efate following the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case, the Department of Water Resources (DoWR) as the lead of the WASH Cluster assured it is now stepping up hand hygiene compliance among businesses.

The DoWR said all shops operating in Port Vila must ensure customers wash their hands when entering and leaving the shops.

This also applies to other business houses including government offices.

DoWR said it will be carrying out follow-up checks to ensure all business comply with the order.

The WASH Cluster is also supporting the WASH In School Program with the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET).

After visiting business houses in the Central Ward, the WASH Cluster Team will move to other municipal wards in Port Vila.

As part of its awareness with the business houses, the WASH Team also informed them of a new by-law to be introduce by the Port Vila Municipal Council soon for all business houses to have permanent handwashing stations.

This means that buckets and containers with taps on them will no longer be accepted.

While there are no vaccines or treatment yet against COVID-19, experts highlighted that good hygiene can prevent the spread of the infection.

Washing hands with soap and water frequently is one of the basic hygiene practices.

The WASH Cluster would like to encourage everyone to practice regular hand washing as advised by the Ministry of Health.

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