On Friday, January 31, officials in Vanuatu implemented new entry requirements for residents and travelers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. As such, passengers who have traveled to or been in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Vanuatu will not be allowed to enter in the country.
Passengers who have traveled to or been in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, or Taiwan as of December 31, and spent the 14 days prior to their arrival in Vanuatu in another country, will be required to provide a medical certification issued by a doctor stating that they do not have respiratory illnesses.
Any traveler showing symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, runny nose, flu-like condition, headache, chest pain, or breathing difficulties) must provide a medical certificate indicating a negative result of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus test.
All travelers will be required to fill a health declaration before boarding a plane to Vanuatu.
As of February 11, no cases of nCoV have been reported in the territory.
Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in 25 countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak is a "public health emergency of international concern."
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
- Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
- Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
- Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
- Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
- Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments
- Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spreading the disease.