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Health

Re-opening of borders | 03 June 2020

Re-opening of borders

Dr Louange and Dr Gedeon during the press conference yesterday (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

Seychelles gets 15 applications for entry so far

 

The department of health has so far received 15 applications for entry into the Seychelles with the re-opening of its borders since June 1.

Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, yesterday highlighted that these applications are in a various stages of processing.

With Seychelles proceeding cautiously towards the re-opening of borders, only public health-approved flights, vessels and leisure craft will be allowed into the country.

Private jets and chartered flights are being favoured above commercial flights which have been deemed high-risk for the moment.

The entry applications to undertake this process is now available on the health department website, Dr Gedeon noted yesterday, along with various advisories and conditions for entry.

“Our work, these past few weeks, have focused on strategies linked to re-opening of our ports of entries and new activities. As you know, the airport was accepting cargo and domestic flights but now we are accepting private jets and chartered flights. These are possible with an entry application and are subject to conditions. Leisure craft and yachts can also resume their activities and foreign vessels can enter Seychelles.”

Airlines including the national carrier, Air Seychelles, will also have to fill in these application forms to gain entry.

“So far it is going well. But with any new measure there is a transition period during which some people are not getting information at the same time, but we are correcting this as we go along,” Dr Gedeon added.

Dr Gedeon noted that the entry of luxury mega yacht A into Seychelles waters, without permission, had been the result of miscommunication.

“They were outside of our borders and figured they could enter to prepare for the yachting season without realising that they needed to send in a formal application and receive permission.”

The public health commissioner added that the Public Health Authority was unaware of A’s entry and, after learning the fact, relegated the yacht to a quarantine zone.

The 30 crew members onboard are not allowed off the yacht and the vessel is waiting for its entry application to be approved.

Dr Gedeon also revealed that the owner of mega yacht A is not onboard the ship and is planning to come into the country soon.

Mega yacht A is said to belong to a Russian billionaire but Russia does not feature on the list of countries allowed entry into the country.

This list, which is updated regularly, presently comprises 19 countries that have been identified as low risk.

Dr Gedeon indicated that anyone would be allowed entry if they have spent 14 days and above in one of those low-risk countries.

On another note, Dr Gedeon expressed his disappointment in regards to the behaviour of Seychellois who are not observing measures such as social distancing.

“When it comes to socialising, people are not doing it properly; whether it’s shopping or social events, there has been no regards to social distancing and this worries us because these are the activities that have fuelled the outbreaks in other countries.”

He highlighted that we must maintain the same behaviour as practiced during the recent months to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in case of another wave.

Seychelles has been COVID-19 free for three weeks and counting. A total of 79 persons are quarantined at Berjaya Bay hotel and nine others at the Family Hospital.

“Everybody is doing well aside from a patient in the family hospital who is displaying symptoms linked to their pre-existing health condition,” Dr Danny Louange, chief executive of the Health Care Agency, affirmed.

The health authorities are expecting 20,000 anti-gen test kits to arrive in the country on June 6 to boost the country’s COVID-19 preparedness.

These antigen tests will be able to detect fragments of the virus at a much earlier stage and have cost the government around US $377,000.

 

Elsie Pointe

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