Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that the quarantine duration will be reduced to 10 days, as part of some revisions to border entry requirement.

This has now been changed back to the World Health Organisation’s recommended 14-day period.

Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Chairman of the Health Emergency Advisory Committee, Henry Vira, confirmed the Committee in its meeting this week has decided that the 14-day period remains.

“There are two reasons for this change. (1) The 10-day period would not be enough to conduct PCR tests for all passengers arriving on a flight,” he said.

“(2)) There were some reservations about the reduction from other members. Following its meeting on Wednesday this week, the Health Emergency Advisory Committee decided that its proper to return to the 14-day period. Basically, it’s a precautionary measure to give us comfort to the emerging COVID-19 variants that might have different incubation periods.”

When announcing the 10-day reduction last week, the MOH said swabbing and testing will be adjusted to days 0 or 1, and day 8. Two tests that confirm no active case will be required to enable release from quarantine on day 10.

Initially, COVID-19 tests are conducted on day 5 and day 11 (and day 1 for travellers who have been in high-risk countries or areas) within 14-days of travel to Vanuatu.

DG Vira said swabbing and testing will be done on days 0 or 1 and day 8, as it conveyed in last week’s press conference.

The MOH said the revisions to these requirements were based on extensive evaluation of the latest evidence from many sources.

Vanuatu is expected to resume repatriation flights this Sunday, with the first flight from Auckland, New Zealand.

According to DG Vira, only 100 passengers are allowed per repatriation flights.