On the 2nd of December 2020, Vanuatu’s first COVID-19 patient was discharged from the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) to reunite with his family.

This has brought Vanuatu back to Scenario 1 whereby there is no COVID-19 case. With this great news, the Ministry of Health continues to encourage the general public to follow the health and hygiene measures put in place at all times to reduce the likeliness of a spread in the virus in case another positive case is detected in the future. Phase 2 of the Vanuatu Government’s repatriation flights ended on Monday 7th of December bringing in Ni-Vanuatu students who were studying in Fiji.

Air Vanuatu was also pleased to announce the return of the ATR 72 on Friday 4th December 2020 after undergoing 9 months of extensive maintenance work in Cairns, Australia. Mr. Joseph Laloyer, Acting CEO of Air Vanuatu, mentioned that he was confident that with the return of the aircraft back into Air Vanuatu’s fleet, they will now have the additional capacity available for both Santo and Tanna to meet both passenger and cargo demand as we move towards the festive season.

The ATR crew have also completed their SIM training in Brisbane and have returned to begin their 14 day quarantine. Once the crew are released from quarantine, they will have a day set aside for familiarisation training for both their cabin crew and pilots before commencing scheduled services. For now, Air Vanuatu will continue to operate the Boeing 737-800 three times per week to and from Santo until the ATR commences operations. Customers are encouraged to contact Air Vanuatu’s Sales Office or Call Centre to make bookings.

So far a total of 247 tourism owners and workers have attended the Safe Business Operations (SBO) training with the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT). This is made up of 134 from the Accommodation business category, 76 from Tours & Activities, 19 from Retail and 18 from Food & Beverage.

In preparation for the opening of borders hopefully in 2021, the Department of Tourism (DoT) is calling on all Tourism Permit holders to register for the Safe Business Operations (SBO) training, as it will become a requirement under the DoT Accreditation division for Tourism Permit holders to gain accreditation against the SBO Guidelines. Businesses that do not have a Tourism Permit can register to do the training with the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

Businesses are required to appoint a COVID-Safe Focal Point who will be in charge of COVID-Safety in the workplace.

There are two types of training that businesses can choose to do. The first training is the Supervisor training which teaches the appointed staff member how to deliver the Worker training in their workplace and also how business operations may change if COVID is present in Vanuatu through the various scenarios or levels. The second training is the Worker training which teaches basic skills to apply in the workplace.

Both types of training depend on how a business would like to gain accreditation under the Tourism permit process. Owners of tourism businesses with tourism permits that undergo the Supervisor training will have to go onto the tourism.gov.vu website to do Self-Verification on the Safe Business Operations Digital Platform.

Self-Verification involves answering a few questions. Once a tourism business has passed self-verification, an audit will be carried out by an independent auditor to ensure relevant checklists and training requirements are complied with.

If the business passes the audit, a ‘Clean Caring Checked CCC’ sticker can then be obtained from the DoT Head Office.

A number of businesses that have attended a SBO training have already started self-verification through the Digital Platform. A copy of the Safe Business Operations Guidelines can be downloaded from the Department of Tourism website as well as the contact tracing form, and the checklists.

To register for your SBO training, email Ms Elma Didas at edidas@vanutu.gov.vu .

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