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Covid-19 update | 07 August 2020

Covid-19 update

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

Only one case still active in Seychelles

 

• Social distancing cannot be done on a part-time basis

 

To date out of 126 positive cases registered, there is only one case active.

This was noted by the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gédéon, at a press conference yesterday at the Sheikh Khalifa Diagnostic Centre. He was accompanied by Health Care Agency chief executive, Dr Danny Louange.

Since August 1, 2020 total arrivals in the country stand at 985 out of which 186 are Seychellois and resident permit holders.

238 passengers including 36 Seychellois (including airline crew and students) have left the country during the last six days.

“Globally the tendency looks like the situation is reaching a plateau, although many countries are still registering a high number of cases. Currently some 18,814,788 cases have been registered, 11,363,028 have recovered and with this intensity by the end of this week, we will surely reach the 20 million mark. There are also many countries that are doing quite well such as Italy, Switzerland, Malaysia, and Mauritius among others. The common factor among these countries is that their prevention measures are working,” said Dr Gédéon.

 

Prevention better than cure

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Benjamin Franklin. Dr Gédéon reiterated the importance of prevention and noted that we all should be concerned with the preventive interventions such as vaccinate our children to prevent sickness, wash our hands to prevent the spread of disease, wear masks and practice social distancing.

“For many years we have been doing prevention. We have been able to manage many contagious diseases such as measles, polio etc. Any prevention can save us down the line. It is unfortunate to see that a big part of the population is not seeing the importance of prevention and is practicing social distancing and wearing mask part-time. During week-ends we forgot the rules!”

“Prevention is like a speed bump to promote health and safety communities. The goals are to slow down transmission and prevention should be woven into all aspects of our lives, including where and how we live, learn, work and play.”

Dr Gédéon stressed on the fact that it is unrealistic to think that Seychelles will not have new cases of Covid-19.

“Prevention is a science and it is based on effective education, partnerships, replication of research based models and research based approaches.”

 

What can individuals do?

Dr Gédéon noted that as individuals, one should be informed and prepared; maintain social distancing; wash hands frequently, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; stay home when sick; cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as cell phones and be prepared if your child’s school, day-care facility, or your worksite are temporarily closed. We have to stop shaking hands and stop fist bumps.

 

Quarantine

Dr Louange stated that “only one patient (seafarer) is admitted at the hospital and 37 persons are in quarantine at the Berjaya Bay Hotel (these people are Seychellois or workers coming from prohibited countries). Currently if a patient is positive and have symptoms, the person will be isolated.”

Dr Louange also made a special mention to all donors who helped the Health Care Agency getting precious equipment.

“We are reaping the benefits of all these donations and currently we have 10 new ventilators and 5 more are coming, making it a total of 21 ventilators. We are also continuing with our training for our staff on sampling and case management, prevention and control. Currently we are doing training on Praslin and La Digue. I will also keep repeating about the importance of prevention. People still are not conceptualising the situation and we will keep educating them. We have to live in a way that our neighbour might be a carrier. Protect yourself so that you can break the chain of transmission. We all have to make the effort in this fight.”

Dr Louange also noted that some people are not wearing masks while in a public health facility. “Please wear your mask and help us prevent infecting the patients!”

 

Travel for business trips

Many small entrepreneurs are concerned about not being able to travel to boost up their business. Once again Dr Gédéon noted that “in the travel conditions, we have stated that Seychellois are strongly discouraged to travel outside Seychelles.These short trips increase the risks to be contaminated by being in close contact with the population in that country. The people who still want to travel for these purposes will have to pay for their quarantine and their PCR test. We know they need to launch their business, but right now it is not safe to travel. Try other means such as online shopping”.

 

Activities leading towards Election

Once again Dr Gédéon stated clearly that the Public Health Authority will not approve any mass gathering. “I am urging the politicians at the onset to use innovative measures to educate their electorate and keep them informed with the mass gathering. In many countries where there were elections recently, after the mass gatherings, they registered an increase of Covid-19. Let us prevent it.”

 

Are the staff of PHA ready for the opening of our borders?

“We have seen four scenarios in Seychelles on how Covid-19 fared in the country. For the time being, our staff are somewhat demoralised when they work in quarantine. Some people’s behaviour is not acceptable. We are giving the support to the staff so that we can help them. In terms of equipment we are ok and receiving more soon; in terms of facilities we also have Anse Royale ready to treat the patients,” explained Dr.Louange.

“We cannot say that we have enough staff as we have a lot of jobs right now. Our staff are involved in reviewing, screening visitors and Seychellois coming in and going out. This is not an 8 to 4 job as private jets can land at 2 or 3 in the morning. We are looking into smarter ways to do the job and we are looking into an online registration developed by a Swiss company. This paper will be presented to the cabinet next week by the concerned ministry. Our staff is stretched and it is important for the public to cooperate with us. We are at the same time setting up sampling in different areas and doing training. Travay i la! We are not short of enthusiasm and energy and we are asking the public to continue with their support and cooperation!” concluded Dr Gédéon.

 

Vidya Gappy

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