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Coronavirus threat a major public health concern: Vanuatu PM
7:03 pm GMT+12, 09/02/2020, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Government recognises the threat of coronavirus as a major public health concern and will ensure the National Coronavirus Taskforce is mandated with resources to execute its duties.
The assurance was made by caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Charlot Salwai Friday.
“The caretaker government will ensure strict measures are put in place to prevent the import of coronavirus and ensure the health sector is prepared to the expected level to receive and manage any possible outbreak," he said.
“The government, through the Taskforce and border control authorities have stepped up control measures.
“As of last week, all passengers transiting or departing China to come to Vanuatu must self-quarantine themselves for 14 days. At the end of the 14 days, they must obtain a medical clearance from a certified doctor that they are free from flu symptoms before being allowed entry into Vanuatu.
“This travel advisory applies to all nationals and Vanuatu government officials transiting regardless of their status. Official trips to China are restricted for Ni-Vanuatu until the threat is over.
“Travelers arriving on boat or plane and identified for medical surveillance requirement are requested to cooperate with health and border authorities.  
“As part of the step up, the health cluster has been activated to ensure training of health workers and appropriate health resources are available at hospitals and health centres.”
Citizens are encouraged to comply with advises from the Ministry of Health and WHO about hygiene practices to avoid the spread of diseases.
Regarding Vanuatu students studying in China, Caretaker PM Salwai said none of them have contracted the coronavirus.
The Taskforce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to communicate with the Vanuatu Embassy in China to monitor their health situation, he said.
He commended the Taskforce for its time and commitment in ensuring Vanuatu is prepared for any future outbreaks.
“As a christian nation, I urge every citizens and church leaders to pray for protection and guidance during this global health emergency and wish everyone good health,” he added.
Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai, Friday presented a cheque of Vt10 million (US$84,000) to the Chinese Ambassador in Vanuatu, Ambassador Zhou Haicheng, towards China’s fight against the Novel Coronavirus.
He told the Chinese Ambassador the donation is a sign of friendship between the two countries.
“Firstly, allow me to convey on behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of Vanuatu, our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the People of the People’s Republic of China, particularly the bereaved families of the victims, and all who have been affected by the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China,” he said.
“We are deeply saddened by the recent outbreak that has resulted in tragic loss of innocent lives and infecting many.
“As partners, we stand with the Chinese Government in eradicating this deadly virus in China and the rest of the world.
“China and Vanuatu have shared and enjoyed close ties and will continue to share close affinities for each other’s welfare and that of our people.
“In the spirit of good relationship and family, we would like to support the Government of the People’s Republic of China in its outmost efforts to fight the Novel Coronavirus outbreak with this small donation.
“I also believe that in times like this, people who are affected by disaster and lost their families need prayers, encouraging words that will bring comfort, and peace to their hearts.
In response, the Chinese Ambassador in Vanuatu said: “In this period of the outbreak of epidemic caused by novel coronavirus, the government and people of Vanuatu actively support China, to combat the epidemic and offer donations to China, demonstrating the China-Vanuatu brotherhood relationship.
“On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I’d like to express my most sincere appreciation towards the Vanuatu government and people.
“Now, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, all the Chinese people are united to fight against this epidemic. As a responsible country, China is cooperating closely with WHO and other countries, sharing the latest development and doing its best to control the spread of the virus which has made periodical achievements.
“The Chinese Government and people have great confidence and capacity to win this battle. Upholding the principle of openness and transparency, China will continue to cooperate with international organisations and other countries. Prime Minster, the virus knows no border.
“The outbreak of epidemic fully demonstrates that the destiny of human beings is closely intertwined.
“It is our common mission to join our hands to safeguard the world peace and our planet. The epidemic is just temporary, but our friendship is everlasting.
“Chinese people will remember the deep friendship of Vanuatu people forever,” said Ambassador Zhou.


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