Five seafarers test positive for Covid-19 | 19 August 2020
By Elsie Pointe
Five seafarers have tested positive for Covid-19 after spending weeks out at sea fishing, the public health commissioner revealed in a press conference yesterday.
Dr Jude Gedeon explained that the Spanish vessel that went out to sea on July 12 had persons onboard that had been in contact with some of the initial 109 mariners who tested positive for the virus in June.
The Spanish vessel came back to Victoria Port after several of the seafarers showcased Covid-related symptoms and the health authorities were able to test 11 sailors.
“Their symptoms varied. Some of the symptoms included loss of the sense of smell, coughs, body aches and one crew member had some breathing difficulties which he no longer has,” stated Dr Gedeon.
Five out of the 11 tested came out positive while the other 24 crew members onboard the vessel have yet to be tested. None of them are in critical condition.
The Spanish vessel is now anchored in the designated quarantine area with all of its 35 crew members still onboard.
With the new cases, Seychelles now has 6 active cases of Covid-19 including the United Nations (UN) volunteer who arrived in Seychelles from Nigeria two weeks ago.
Seychelles has recorded a total of 132 positive cases out of which 126 have recovered.
Meanwhile Dr Danny Louange, chief executive of the Health Care Agency, noted that there are 100 persons presently in quarantine.
In regards to the new cases, Dr Gedeon noted that it is probable that some out of the 24 untested crew members will test positive for Covid-19.
He also explained that there might even be some who have had the virus while onboard the vessel but who have already recovered from it, adding that this will be confirmed with the anti-body tests.
Dr Gedeon yesterday also noted that France and Belgium have been removed from the list of countries where visitors are permitted due to the increasing number of cases detected in the respective countries.
On the flip side, Dr Gedeon said that the department of health is reviewing the case for the UK – which is presently considered as high risk countries – since trends indicate that the Covid-19 is becoming more manageable there.
“There are countries where the virus is re-emerging such as Spain, France, Belgium and other European countries as well as in Australia and Israel. This is a worrying trend for Seychelles because we had thought that our main tourism markets would reopen but now we have to revise our list of countries,” said Dr Gedeon.
While the UK is detecting one positive case for every 178 tests, the United States is detecting one case for every 13 tests and France currently detects one Covid-19 case for every 54 tests.
“Over the next few weeks, we will have to evaluate whether UK’s status will change if the situation continues to improve,” Dr Gedeon said.
It is to be noted that Seychellois who are in high-risk countries are allowed to enter Seychelles but will have to go under mandatory quarantine. Visitors from high risk countries remains barred out of Seychelles unless they choose to spend at least 14 days in a low risk country and take a PCR test before coming to Seychelles.
Yesterday’s press conference was also an opportunity for Dr Gedeon to voice out certain concerns regarding mass gatherings, in the forms of shows and other entertainment, which he stressed should not be happening.
He also raised concerns regarding tourists who are opting to stay at non-certified tourism establishments instead of the certified hotels or guesthouses they had put down on entry in Seychelles.