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Re-opening airport ‘a risk we will have to accept’ | 01 July 2020

Re-opening airport ‘a risk we will have to accept’

Dr Louange (Photo: Thomas Meriton)

The re-opening of the airport will press on and it is “a risk that we will have to accept”, Dr Danny Louange, the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, said yesterday.

“There is a risk with re-opening the airport, even if we put all of the necessary protocols and measures in place,” Dr Louange said.

The conditions set for entry into the Seychelles include a mandatory COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to arrival.

It is to be recalled that the re-opening of the airport to commercial flights is set for August 1, 2020.

Dr Louange was speaking during a press conference yesterday to give an update of the current COVID-19 situation in the country.

The number of confirmed active cases in the country still stands at 70 and these cases comprise entirely of the seafarers who arrived in the country last week.

Dr Louange noted that all except one of the seafarers who have tested positive have isolated themselves onboard their fishing vessels.

One of the COVID-19 positive sailors was placed at the isolation centre at the Family Hospital due to a fever which has yet to abate. He has not developed any other symptoms, and additional tests for malaria and ebola have all come up negative.

Dr Louange further noted that another sailor was also taken off the fishing vessels and admitted to the Family Hospital for further investigations on June 29 following reports of a fever.

The health authorities were yesterday afternoon waiting on his PCR tests results.

“So we only have two patients in our Family Hospital; one is going to be tested and we will have the results later today [June 30],” Dr Louange summarised.

“In quarantine, we have 96 people at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay facility, 22 at the Il di Swet facility and we do not have anyone at Maison de Football and Coast Guard.”

“All of the people in quarantine are asymptomatic and we are monitoring them closely,” Dr Louange added.

There are also three individuals who have been allowed to home quarantine since they were considered under special circumstances.

As for the reliability of COVID-19 tests, Dr Louange noted that the health authorities undertake three parallel PCR tests while testing for COVID-19.

The three tests comprise a test accredited by the World Health Organisation (WHO), another from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) and the last is a test donated from the Jack Ma Foundation.

“If one test does not pick up, the other one will and if all three do not then that means it’s negative. We are not depending on only one kit.”

In regards to the three false positives, Dr Louange stated that the health authorities are analysing the issue but noted that most likely a ‘margin of error’ occurred at any point during the sample extraction up to testing.


Elsie Pointe

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