More COVID-19 repatriations of Vanuatu students

The Department of Foreign Affairs says students studying overseas have not been forgotten by the Government and will be included in upcoming COVID-19 repatriation flights.

The Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Yvon Basil, says students studying in China, for example, who need to return home, must board flights to destinations that easily connect them to Vanuatu, such as Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Basil says the arrangements for the upcoming repatriation of students studying abroad will be the same as during the first repatriation phase.

“For our students studying in Shanghai, for example, there are flights departing every day from Shanghai to Auckland in New Zealand. We are waiting to finalise flights with Air Vanuatu and have asked Air Vanuatu to ensure connections with those flights,” Mr Basil said.

“We are advising Vanuatu citizens and residents overseas to move to main ports of entry, such as in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia.”

In another development, the body of the late Vanuatu High Commissioner to New Zealand, Johnson Naviti, arrived in Port Vila on Tuesday.

Mr Naviti passed away in New Zealand, and Mr Basil says the former High Commissioner’s body will remain in a facility at the airport for 14 days, before it will return to his families in Port Vila.

He says the 14 day-wait is needed because the late High Commissioner’s family who returned with the coffin, will have to spend 14 days in quarantine.

“After the 14 days quarantine, there will be an official ceremony to remember the late Johnson Naviti,” he said.

Director Basil says the body of the late Kenneth Worwor, who was a seasonal worker who died in New Zealand, also returned on the same flight, and was returned to his family in Port Vila so they can take him to his home island on Ambrym for burial.

The two bodies were returned home with around 100 other Ni-Vanuatu people, on a Royal New Zealand Defence Force repatriation flight which was funded by the New Zealand Government.

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