SUVA, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Vanuatu's State of Emergency for COVID-19 will remain in place until Dec. 31 this year and may be extended if the situation warrants an extension.
According to Vanuatu's English newspaper Daily Post on Tuesday, Public Relations Officer (PRO) to the Prime Minister's Office Fred Vurobaravu said this was the decision made by the Vanuatu Council of Ministers.
Vurobaravu said Vanuatu's approach to COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place, given the COVID-19 situation in neighboring countries including Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
He said the much talked about Tamtam Bubble is a concept that is still being worked on in preparation for a post-COVID-19 and pending the instructions from the National Task Force and the National Disaster Management Office after assessments and reviews of the pandemic situation in the region.
Vanuatu is one of only 12 countries in the world with no confirmed COVID-19 cases to date. Tamtam Bubble is the country's plan to allow traveling between virus-free countries during the pandemic.
Vurobaravu said at this stage, a travel bubble like this is unlikely until 2021.
He said while borders remain closed, the focus now is on repatriating seasonal workers under New Zealand's Recognized Seasonal Employer's scheme and Australia's Seasonal Workers Program as well as students.
Around 7,000 Vanuatu citizens who are overseas are targeted in the second phase of repatriations.
Air Vanuatu revealed last week that its first flight of the repatriation will begin on Wednesday. Enditem