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05 Mar 2020 | 05:59 AM UTC

Vanuatu: New entry requirements announced to contain COVID-19 outbreak March 4 /update 1

New entry requirements announced to contain COVID-19 outbreak effective March 4; further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks



On Wednesday, March 4, authorities announced that new entry requirements and procedures were to be implimented in efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. All travelers traveling from or transiting through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, or Singapore since Tuesday, December 31, must have been quarantined for a minimum of 14 days in a third party country before their arrival in Vanuatu. All such travelers who are not Vanuatu residents must provide a medical certificate confirming they do not have and are not suspected to have COVID-19.

Additionally, any travelers set to visit Vanuatu experiencing COVID-19 affiliated symptoms including cold, runny nose, fever, headache, chest pain, or difficulty breathing are invited to postpone their trip. Any travelers arriving in Vanuatu experiencing these symptoms will be immediately isolated and placed in quarantine by the medical authorities.

Vanuatu has not reported any confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 5. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, 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 numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

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.


To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.