Update Coronavirus/Measles | 20 February 2020
2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR tests now available to detect the virus
As of yesterday, the 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR tests are now available in Seychelles to detect coronavirus also known as (COVID-19).
This was announced by the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, in a press meet at the Seychelles Hospital.
He also confirmed that so far no one has been admitted or found with any symptoms of the COVID-19.
Regarding measles, Dr Gedeon also noted that a new batch of vaccines have arrived and on Monday February 24, the vaccination campaign will start. A new hotline number 141 which will also be active as of this week if people have concerns about coronavirus or measles. A staff member of the Ministry of Health will assist the public on this hotline.
“COVID-19 epidemic is ongoing mainly in China and now some 75 000 cases have been confirmed with symptoms of the virus. Most of the cases are located in the Hubei region, China. Whereas the other countries that registered some cases, have not been having new cases.
“No new country has been added on the list except Egypt that registered a case on February 15 and Belgium on February 5. We have also learnt from the Chinese authorities that 80% of the cases registered are mild and among the 20% of the severe cases, only 4% of the patients are considered as severe. As a whole only 2% of the cases have died from the virus,” said Dr Gedeon.
He also noted that up till now no vaccine has been discovered to eliminate the virus but many treatments are being tested.
“On Monday this week, we received all necessary materials to set up the Real-Time RT-PCR tests and as of Wednesday we can do the test. Our preparation has also been reinforced and we are meeting twice a week to have all the latest info. We are still maintaining the travel advisory and we are receiving many inquiries locally and internationally about upcoming travels. There is no one that came back from China for the last 14 days and there is no one under observation also,” stated Dr Gedeon.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test provides possible detection of 2019-nCoV from respiratory secretions like nasal or oral swabs and comes from a laboratory approved by the World Health Organisation.
“We will receive another set of tests from WHO. This test is very sensitive and the blood test will immediately show if there is any fragment of the virus in the person and it is the highest test that can be done to know the status,” noted Dr Gedeon.
27 000 vaccines available
Up till now, 84 suspected cases were reported to the hospital. “But when tested, there are only 21 cases that have been confirmed, three on Mahé and the rest on Praslin. All the patients have been treated or are on treatment and the good news is this epidemic is not propagating as in other neighbouring islands such as Mauritius and Madagascar. We are happy to share that all health workers (public and private) have been recently vaccinated and as from February 24, other batch of workers and the population will be vaccinated. We will start with the ones working at the port and at the airport,” explained Dr Gedeon.
Another step the Ministry of Health is taking is to vaccinate the babies as of 6 months instead of the usual 15 months.
“All children aged 16 months to five years old need to be vaccinated also and this group represent 7 500 children who will benefit from this additional vaccine. Adults over 20 years old and who do not have any proof that they had been given two doses of measles vaccines, have to be vaccinated again. People who were born in the 1950s and 1960s already got the vaccination and are protected, but if they want to do it, we will provide it to them. The first batch of vaccines, 27 000, is here and the second batch will be arriving soon. We are encouraging people to come have the vaccination and get protected for life. Measles is more contagious than coronavirus if you do not have protection,” stressed Dr Gedeon.