Vanuatu curfew lifted, schools and workplaces to reopen

Aerial view of Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s government has decided to lift the 8pm-6am curfew and relax other restrictions which were in place for almost two months, as COVID-19 cases decline on Efate and offshore islands.

From Friday, there are no more restrictions on when people can move around, following new orders approved by the Minister of Health.

Schools can resume classes under Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and compliance with physical distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene.

All government and private workplaces can resume normal operations with full attendance as of Monday, but must follow norms of social distancing and mask wearing at all times. Non-essential services can resume functions only if they have an approved SOPs.

Church gatherings, social events and public gatherings can be organised subject to physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing or use of hand sanitisers.

Repatriation flights can resume following existing pre-travel arrangements.

The quarantine duration for people traveling from lower-risk countries like Australia and New Zealand will be reduced to three days. For those coming from higher risk countries, quarantine is seven days. All travellers are subject to a Rapid Antigen Test before leaving quarantine, and those with a positive result will remain for another seven days.

A flight bringing people under special visa category came from Australia yesterday. Further repatriation flights are expected in the coming days.

Public transport vehicles can increase the number of their passengers. Mini buses can transport up to six passengers, seven passengers for buses and transport pickup vehicles.

These decisions have been endorsed by the Council of Ministers (COM).

Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Russel Tamata, said these actions are taken following assessment on the current situation.