Richard Butler | Exclusive By Anita Roberts of Daily Post | March 18th, 2020
The Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme, Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and the newly introduced Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) have been temporarily suspended as of yesterday as a precaution against coronavirus.
All cruise ships are also banned not to come to Vanuatu for 60 days while cargo ships and tankers will continue to come under special conditions.
All foreign missions in China, New York, Brussel, Geneva and Canberra are instructed to work from home. New foreign missions are suspended for 60 days as of yesterday.
These measures were announced by caretaker Prime Minister (PM), Charlot Salwai, when delivering a statement on the coronavirus as the head of the government yesterday.
“Any international groups planning to come to Vanuatu for the next 60 days must delay or cancel their trips,” he said.
“We (citizens) will be seeing a reduction of regional and international flights to Vanuatu due to travel restrictions imposed by other countries.
“Businesses and shops must not take advantage of situation to increase the price of items and goods. The productive sector must increase the supply of produces in each province and ensure there is inter-island trading.
“Municipalities, business houses, offices, schools and churches must have proper sanitation and hygiene facilities.
“Community leaders must be thinking of alternatives in case local gatherings such as church services and marriages are stopped.
“They must consider applying serious measures in kava bars, night clubs and other public places based on further coronavirus advisories to be released.
“The Ministry of Finance is assessing the potential impact of coronavirus on the economy and the government is preparing the facilities to keep coronavirus patients in both Port Vila and Luganville.
“The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has activated the cluster system to address concerns relating to the coronavirus.
The caretaker PM has assured that development partners such as WHO, China, ADB, World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, DFAT, MFAT, NGO’s and faith organisations are ready to help Vanuatu treat any case.
These actions had to be taken to keep the deadly virus out of our border and to protect the people, he stressed.
“The increasing cases in Australia and neighboring countries as French Polynesia and Guam is a concern. Our border measures will continue to be tighten to prevent any future risk,” said the caretaker PM.
The National Coronavirus Task Force has been acknowledged for its effort so far in protecting the borders from the fast-spreading virus.