Repatriates to Vanuatu pay for quarantine costs since September

The Vanuatu Government decided that as of 1 September, all repatriates are responsible for their own quarantine costs.

The Director of Public Health and COVID-19 Spokesperson, Len Tarivonda said since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has generously paid for all quarantine fees for the year 2020 and most of 2021 as well. These included the quarantine costs of seasonal workers.

According to Director Tarivonda, a Government decision made and already in force, states that from 01 September this year, all repatriates are to meet their own quarantine costs. This is stipulated in section 12 (3) of the Public Health Act [CAP 234] which states: “A person must meet all financial costs incurred by him or her while in quarantine.”

The Daily Post reports resorts and hotels have different rates that are being negotiated with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), hence rates cannot be excessive.

Tarivonda said the rates are to ensure that hotels and resorts accommodating quarantine repatriates can minimise their losses and make a little money.

“We ensure the rates are all inclusive, including the rooms, food, Wi-Fi, laundry and all amenities available,” he said.

“The costs range from VT100,000(US$899) to VT200,000(US$1,798), depending on resorts being used and people can indicate their preferences as to where they want to be quarantined.”

He said the current problem is that the negotiated costs and rates for quarantine services are meant to be split among some individuals in the cases of sharing a room. However, all neighbouring countries are now high-risk countries because of the Delta Variant.

Consequently, quarantining people are now supposed to have individual rooms, and this affects their ability to pay.

“Our recommendation is unless they are a couple or a family, they have to occupy individual rooms,” he said.

Tarivonda mentioned the Government subsidising quarantine costs is an option to consider but it has already done a lot for seasonal workers and others who are not capable of affording quarantine costs.

He attests it is essential not to assume that the Government has unlimited funds to pay for quarantine.

“People should be prepared to pay for their quarantine costs when returning to the country,” he said.

“I would recommend that the agents of seasonal workers deduct their quarantine costs from when they are working and when they are ready to return.

“That way, the agents can pay the hotels that will be accommodating them for quarantine, as the amount of money has already been deducted from their wages.”

Tarivonda added that there are certain things people can do to meet the quarantine costs, but to continue expecting the government to meet quarantine costs for everyone is impossible.....PACNEWS


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