Vanuatu has officially recorded its first case of COVID-19, ending the Pacific island nation’s status as one of the few remaining virus-free countries in the world.
Len Tarivonda, the director of Vanuatu Public Health on Wednesday, November 11th said the 23-year-old man was confirmed to have the virus on Tuesday after being tested on the fifth day of his quarantine.
“A case detected in quarantine is considered a border case and not an outbreak,” the department said in a statement, adding that health protocols were in place to contain the virus.
It added that the infected man, originally from Vanuatu, had travelled from the United States via Sydney and Auckland, but had been isolated from other passengers during the journey as a precaution
“I want to assure all citizens and the public that the situation is under control and the government through the COVID-19 task force is prepared and ready to address this case,” Prime Minister Bob Loughman said at a press conference, according to Radio New Zealand.
Authorities plan to quarantine his fellow passengers and trace his close contacts, but will not impose lockdown measures in the nation of 300,000 people.
The remote island nations and territories of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu are all believed still to be free of the virus.