SUVA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Vanuatu lifted the COVID-19 lockdown on Wednesday with only the island of Tanna still under restrictions.
According to Vanuatu's English newspaper the Daily Post, Vanuatu's Prime Minister Bob Loughman said that the government, through the Council of Ministers (COM), has endorsed the recommendation of the National Disaster Committee (NDC) to lift temporary travel restrictions issued over the country's main island of Efate and its offshore islands, but the situation in the island of Tanna would be reviewed this week.
The Vanuatu prime minister's announcement to ease restrictions on domestic travel and international repatriation came following the 17 close contacts and 12 others with potential occupational exposure to the confirmed case all tested negative twice for COVID-19.
Last Wednesday, the island nation reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case who is a 23-year-old male Vanuatu citizen. He tested positive for COVID-19 in quarantine after being repatriated from the United States early this month.
After acting swiftly by imposing domestic and international travel restrictions, the Vanuatu government also decided to extend the 14-day quarantine to 28 days.
The prime minister stressed on Wednesday that it has been revised to the initial 14 days period, but people from countries deemed as "high-risk" are still not allowed to enter the island nation until further notice.
According to the prime minister, a team from the Vanuatu Ministry of Health will visit Tanna on Wednesday to conduct the risk assessment and contact tracing.
As for the COVID-19 case, the ministry will continue to monitor the 23-year-old man in isolation and will provide further update later this week. Enditem