The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released a US$5 million (Vatu566 million) grant from its Pacific Disaster Resilience Programme (Phase 3) to help finance the Government of Vanuatu’s response to the community transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Vanuatu is battling large-scale community transmission of the virus, with the Ministry of Health confirming a total of 252 COVID-19 cases since a surge of imported cases last month.
Vanuatu Outbreak Alert System is currently at Alert Level 3—the highest level—for all provinces, where workplaces and schools are closed, and public gatherings are prohibited. A temporary suspension of inbound international flights remains in place.
“This ADB financing will help the Government of Vanuatu respond to this health emergency,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “The funds have been disbursed quickly, enabling the government to rapidly step up COVID-19 containment measures.”
Additional vaccination centres are being set up in Port Vila and North Efate. The training of health professionals on the use of and reporting on Rapid Antigen Tests is being expanded as more test sites are being established. Government-managed community isolation and quarantine facilities are being arranged for the isolation of mild cases that are unable to isolate safely at home.
The ADB-supported Pacific Disaster Resilience Program (Phase 3) fills a financing gap common to many Pacific developing member countries during disasters, providing a predictable and quick-disbursing source of financing for early response and recovery activities.