Saturday, February 27, 2021

List of Covid-free nations just got shorter

The person had been identified during pre-travel registration as higher risk but had been allowed to fly.

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The list of places untouched by Covid-19 just got shorter as a small Pacific island nation has recorded its first case.

Vanuatu, a country of just under 300,000 people located in the south Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia reported its first case on Tuesday.

The country’s health ministry reported that the positive test was recorded in a Vanuatu citizen who returned to the nation from a “higher-risk location” in the US on Nov 4.

The person had been identified during pre-travel registration as travelling from a higher-risk location, but he had not tested positive and was asymptomatic so he was allowed to fly.

However the airline seated him separately at the back of the plane, away from other passengers and “personal protection measures were applied and maintained during the flight”, the ministry stated.

He was isolated throughout the arrival process, during transport to quarantine and during registration at the facility, according to the ministry.

The man didn’t share a room with anyone else while at the quarantine facility, and he “adhered to all appropriate measures throughout the travel and quarantine”.

The one positive test is not considered an outbreak. The man will remain in isolation until health clearance is given, the ministry said.

Vanuatu considers the single case of Covid-19 a “border case” and will not shut down schools or workplaces or impose restrictions on gatherings, but it will maintain handwashing stations throughout the country and encourage residents to follow hygiene measures.

There are few remaining places in the world that have not reported a single positive Covid-19 case, according to the World Health Organization.

They are all remote locations, including the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Samoa and Tonga.

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