International border closure ends this week
By Anita Roberts.
After closing its international borders to everyone except citizens and residents two years ago following the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanuatu is reopening and reconnecting with the world starting this Friday.
Vanuatu has not recorded a local transmission case until just early this year. Border closure and strict entry protocols were effective in keeping the virus out from the country, and the high vaccination rate has helped prevent illness and keep death rates low.
The government initially announced that the border would reopen to international travelers by March this year, subject to a high vaccination rate. The vaccination target was not met, thus the plan was postponed to July 1, 2022.
Upgrades were also made to the Vila Central Hospital to ensure the continuation of care and support for COVID-19 patients.
As of June 19, 83% of the adult eligible population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and 75% are fully vaccinated. 16.8 % have not been vaccinated and 7.4% are partially vaccinated.
To date, 11,174 confirmed cases have been reported in Vanuatu, with 195 active cases and 10,963 recovered cases. The number of deaths remains at 14.
International visitors will be able to return to the country, by both air and sea, in a few days. Cruise ships can now enter Vanuatu waters without restrictions.
None of the tourists or travellers will be required to be fully vaccinated although it is strongly encouraged. They will still need to show proof of vaccination.
Travellers will travel to Vanuatu without needing to quarantine. This has already been effective since June 14, as part of the soft border reopening. The travel approval process will be simplified from July 1, according to the Ministry of Health.
The Daily Post has been informed that the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO) is arranging a small welcome event for the passengers arriving on the first flights this Friday, to mark the border reopening.
Prime Minister (PM), Bob Loughman, who is returning back from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, Africa, that day is expected to give a short official statement at a small event at the VIP Lounge.