COVID-19 update - Outdoor movement restrictions extended to May 4 | 22 April 2020
• 6 patients fully recovered
The Prohibition of outdoor movement has been extended to May 4, instead of the previous date announced which was April 30.
This was announced by the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, in the regular press meet held twice a week at the Seychelles Hospital.
He was accompanied by the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange. Seychelles still has 11 COVID-19 cases recorded and now six of them have recovered fully but they are still in quarantine and are being prepared to be released. Only five persons are still at the family hospital for treatment/follow-up.
Current status – 984 tests conducted
Globally, the COVID-19 outbreak seems plateauing but still the number keeps increasing in some countries. “In Seychelles since our last case (11th) on April 6, we have not registered any new case. Monday this week marked 14 days after the confirmation of the last infection and it also completed the first incubation period. After very prolonged and extensive discussions with health experts, it was strongly felt that another 14 days of incubation period is required to make sure that if any community transmission happens, the chance of capturing the case will be increased. This is why we are moving the outdoor movement restriction to May 4, which is the date which will mark the end of these 14 more days,” explained Dr Gedeon.
According to Dr Gedeon, 984 tests have been conducted in total out of which 690 rapid tests and 294 Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
“Since our last press conference on Thursday, we conducted 18 PCR tests and 80 rapid tests. We are continuing with the tests. Many of these tests are being done twice or three times to make sure that they are really validated. That’s a lot for a small country like Seychelles proportionate wise to other countries and we will continue to do active surveillance and monitoring in the country,” he noted.
He also urged the public to celebrate the International Workers Day on May 1 by cheering all the frontline workers who have been working day and night.
“We also suggest making it a day of prayer for everything that is happening here and in the world. There will be an amended order to include the extra four days to make sure the extra days are included in the legal provision. The restriction of movement applies to Praslin and La Digue as well, as we never know when and where a case can be detected,” Dr Gedeon said.
Currently there are five patients in the isolation centre at the Family Hospital and they are doing well and they are not having any symptoms. They are being tested regularly.
“We salute the staff for their hard work and devotion and we call them the frontline warriors,” said Dr Gedeon.
He noted that there are 21 people in quarantine – 12 at Beau Vallon Berjaya and 9 at the Coast Guard facility and they are being followed closely.
“We have also noted that our alerts have decreased considerably. Whenever there is alert we continue to do the tests,” he said.
Nurses from Kenya/staff residing at Avani
As announced by President Danny Faure, 30 nurses from Kenya are being called to help Seychelles with this pandemic. “Yes even if the situation is getting better, we as a health department we are preparing for the worst case scenario. If we get a cluster of cases, there might be 27 people needing ICU care and we might be treating some 82 patients. If this is the case, we can see ourselves in a situation where we are treating 400 people with mild cases. Even if we are planning to step down on our measures, we need to be prepared if there is a cluster of cases that develops. We have to make sure that we have enough people to take care of the patients. With the help of Foreign Affairs we are trying to bring the nurses as soon as possible,” stated Dr Louange.
Regarding the offer from Avani Hotel to accommodate the frontline staff of the health department, Dr Gedeon noted that Avani was offered to them free of charge from April 8 to 30 and some staff are using this facility.
Dr Louange also noted that the staff who have worked on a heavy schedule will all get one week leave to rest but this will be done in phases.
Chartered plane deprived repatriation trip
Dr Gedeon informed the public that only on Friday he was made aware that a chartered plane was to land in Seychelles to charter five people who were residing on North Island.
“According to the new restriction orders, all planes should ask permission and we have to know the identity of those travelling also. The reason we have to set the restrictions on the chartered flight is because they involve human contacts. The plane had permission to refuel and went back. Now they have applied for permission to come back and the request is being processed. Unfortunately they were not aware of the new regulations.”
Oxygen, masks and ventilators
Dr Louange noted that in Seychelles we do have our own medical oxygen plant which ensures provision for all hospitals and cylinders in other facilities. The current isolation centre, the Family Hospital at Perseverance, has an inbuilt medical gas complex.
“Oxygen supply is not an issue for us,” he said.
“We currently have 5 ventilators at Perseverance and just received two more from the Jack Ma Foundation and also bought three new ones and they are being shipped to Seychelles. We have four additional ventilators that were sponsored by donors and also five more that have been paid. In our system we have 32 ventilators in our hospitals in Seychelles and most of them are set up in the ICU wards. If there is a surge we will be able to cope and with the new ones we will be more comfortable.
“In terms of beds we have 34 beds at Perseverance which can be increased to 45. Worst case scenario we would need 27 beds. At Anse Royale we have 24 beds on the first floor but 12 more can be added. They will not all be ICU beds,” explained Dr Louange.
From January to April, Dr Gedeon noted that some 60 cases have been registered.
“We are redoing the PCR tests on them to confirm the cases and fortunately we did not get any fatality so far. Caused by mosquitoes, its symptoms are similar like leptospirosis or even COVID-19. When we tested a batch of people for COVID-19, many were tested for different other diseases. We ask the public to take this time to clean around their homes and destroy any water retaining outlet to prevent mosquito bites.”
Dr Louange seized the opportunity to add that we have to be very careful of what we eat as we are prone to get diabetes and cardiac issues.
“Do some exercises at home, be mindful of what you are eating and take your medicines properly.”
Dr Gedeon stressed on the fact that the hospital is still functioning and “we have not shut down our services”.
Dr Gedeon urges the public to do some more sacrifices in order to protect ourselves and our country and fight the enemy when it is at its lowest. Prevention is better than cure and we need people to adopt the right behaviour. After the restriction phase, the department of health will give more details on how the country will proceed for a slow and controlled re-start of the services.