Two COVID cases confirmed as delta

Prime Minister Bob Loughman has confirmed that the two positive cases of COVID-19 in isolation in Port Vila are of the extremely-infectious Delta variant.

The two people travelled from New Caledonia to Vanuatu on 22 October and were detected in border quarantine on 24 October.

Prime Minister Loughman says the two active cases have been transferred to the isolation ward at the Vila Central Hospital in Port Vila.

“They will only be released after getting health clearance from the doctors and if they are no longer infectious or still have the virus but pose no risk of transmitting it to another person,” Prime Minister Loughman said.

The Prime Minister says the Vanuatu Ministry of Health had received tests results from the Dorothy Institute in Australia which confirmed the type of COVID-19 to be of the Delta strain.

“We must always have strict protocols or measures in place and continue to practice these measures to protect us against any transmissions of the Delta variant from these two cases,” he said.

Prime Minister Loughman says despite the confirmation of the Delta strain in Port Vila, the Ministry of Health has not enacted any additional health measures but says vaccinations must continue.

Urging the public to get vaccinated, he said: “Families around the country, we must help each other. Come forward to protect yourself, protect your family and protect your community.

“This is the only way that will help us contain any variant of COVID-19 in our country.”

The two infected travellers came with 16 other passengers on a flight from New Caledonia but the Prime Minister says the other 16 passengers have not developed symptoms or signs of COVID-19 after undergoing several COVID-19 tests.

“All laboratory test results from day one, day five and day 11, with extra tests on day 14, are negative,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister says the negative results from the 16 passengers gave assurance that those released posed no risks of creating COVID-19 community transmission in Vanuatu, saying, “We are still safe.”

“These people have received medical clearances to confirm that they pose no threat of spreading COVID-19 to communities. They have been released from quarantine yesterday.”

He says all 20 frontline workers who were quarantined after contact tracing have now been released.

The Prime Minister says since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Vanuatu has managed to contain all COVID-19 cases in its border quarantine system and there has been no community transmission.

“This shows that our COVID-19 protocols are effective,” he said.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is more than two times more contagious than previous variants and is now one of the dominant forms of the virus globally.

Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people.

Two studies from Canada and Scotland showed patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalised than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19.

The vast majority of hospitalisation and deaths caused by COVID-19 around the world are in unvaccinated people.


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