Vanuatu total lockdown imminent

Vanuatu Minister of Health has advised the people to prepare for a total lockdown, as the Government is eyeing tougher restrictions, starting this week.

Minister Bruno Leingkone said he has discussed this with the Health Directors, Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (COM).

“I am calling on people residing in Santo, Efate and its offshore islands to prepare, in case we go through a total lockdown,” he said.

Minister Leingkone stressed that the number of COVID-19 cases on Santo and Efate continues to increase because the people are not respecting protocols in place and instructions from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

He said observations have revealed that people in the two towns have not strictly followed protocols and still moved around this week thus despite protocols.

This attitude is not helping government’s efforts in stopping the spread of the virus, said the minister.

Over 200 new confirmed cases have been reported on Santo and Efate from Monday to Thursday last week, bringing the total number of active cases to almost 500 so far.

35 health workers and 15 frontline workers have been confirmed positive to coronavirus.

The number of hospitalised cases still remains at four.

Minister Leingkone pleaded for cooperation from national and community leaders, parents and everyone else in reducing the COVID-19 community transmission.

He urged people to continue to apply social distancing at work and home, and practise hygiene measures.

“Washing hands with soap regularly kills the virus and social distancing prevents its spread,” he added.

Meanwhile, people who test positive for COVID-19 and choose to isolate in a hotel will have to meet their own costs.

The person coordinating quarantine, Kali Ameara, said the Government will no longer be meeting hotel quarantine costs for isolating positive COVID-19 cases.

People have the choice to either quarantine at home or in the Isolation and Community Quarantine Centres (ICQ) at Korman and X-FOL facilities.

Amera said the Korman Sports Complex is accommodating mild cases while X-FOL will be open for moderate cases at the end of this week, or beginning next week.

He said they are equipping X-FOL building with necessary infrastructure before it can start accommodating patients.

Amera said so far, close to 600 people have undergone isolation.

He said over 240 people are isolating in hotels, 71 at Korman, 17 at the Vila Central Hospital and almost 200 at home.

Ameara said ICQs will also be establishing in rural Efate, on Santo and other provinces....


Photo file Caption: Vanuatu Minister of Health Bruno Leingkone