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Nine new positive COVID-19 cases registered | 26 June 2020

Nine new positive COVID-19 cases registered

Dr Gedeon and Dr Louange during the press conference (Photo: Thomas Meriton)

After several weeks of being coronavirus (COVID-19) free, Seychelles has now nine registered positive cases after nine crew members of a Spanish fishing fleet operating in the country’s waters tested positive for COVID-19 PCR tests.

They are now at the Perseverance isolation centre, while the Public Health Authority has put a temporary hold on the entry of sailors from West Africa, awaiting a re-evaluation on the testing methods in their country.

Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, gave these details yesterday afternoon during his routine press conference to update members of the public on the situation of the COVID-19 in the country and around the world.

The nine sailors were part of the relief team which flew in on Tuesday onboard Air Seychelles from Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr Gedeon noted that since Wednesday night and all throughout the day yesterday, PCR tests on the rest of the crew were being carried out.

He also confirmed that during the transfer from the Seychelles International Airport to the fishing vessels there was absolutely no physical contact between the crew members and the local population as the transfer was done with strict public health precautions.

Following panic and various comments after a press release from the department of health on Wednesday stated that 20 new crew members testedpositive for COVID-19 rapid antibody tests, Dr Gedeon explained the differences between the two types of tests and how they work.

A rapid antibody test requires the patient's blood sample and can only detect antibodies.

The body produces antibodies in response to an infectious agent such as a virus.

These antibodies, however, generally arise after four days to more than a week after infection, so they are not used to diagnose current disease.

In terms of accuracy, the test results are not reliable enough for individuals to act on.

Doctors have even warned that when these are used on people showing no symptoms of COVID-19, there is a high incidence of false positive results.

As for the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (R-TPCR) test kit, it uses actual swabs from patients taken from the nose or throat.

This test determines the actual presence of the coronavirus and if a person is currently infected.

Its accuracy has been described as the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, with results rate proven to be 97% accurate or higher.

Also present at yesterday’s press conference was the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange, who talked about the quarantine facilities, repatriation flights and other related issues.

There are presently 47 occupants at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort quarantine facility, while the Coast Guard base quarantine facility is hosting 15 individuals.

Dr Louange noted that repatriation flights continued yesterday with one flight bringing sailors from the different Seychelles Petroleum Company Limited (Seypec) oil tankers, while another flight catering for 75 stranded Seychellois citizens from all over Europe has been scheduled for Sunday.

 

Roland Duval

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