The National COVID-19 Advisory Committee has recommended that only final year scholarship students abroad should be repatriated for this year’s Christmas break because it is expensive for the government to meet the quarantine cost for everyone twice in a short period of time.
When conveying this, Director of Public Health and Spokesperson on COVID-19 matters, Len Tarivonda, said it was suggested that ongoing students should stay back for the break but will continue to receive support from sponsors.
All Ni-Vanuatu returning students will undergo the required 14-day quarantine once they arrive in the country and on their return.
Under the current second phase of repatriation, the government is meeting the hotel quarantine cost for every returning citizens and residents.
The government would be meeting the cost for each returning government sponsored students once they return, which is an expensive exercise in this current crisis, stressed Tarivonda.
While the decision to repatriate only final year students on scholarships is yet to be decided by the government, Tarivonda said the committee has decided for the second repatriation phase to end on December 22, with the final repatriation flight on December 7.
This does not include cargo flights, he added.
Repatriates coming on the final flight will be released from quarantine on December 22, three days before December 25.
If the government is bringing back students on chartered flights, it has to be done before December 7, said Director Tarivonda.
Some institutions such as the University of the South Pacific (USP) are likely to end Semester II in the first week of December.