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Covid-19 update | 11 September 2020

Covid-19 update

(L to r) Mr Lucas, Dr Gedeon and ASP Toussaint (Photo: Anel Robert)

New case increases possibility of community outbreak

 

A South African man who arrived in Seychelles on September 3 has become the 138th person to test positive for the Covid-19 virus in the country, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, has confirmed.

He was speaking during his weekly press update of the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Dr Gedeon said that the South African man in question, who travelled from Dubai with his spouse to get married in Seychelles, has been transferred to the isolation facility at Perseverance and has started showing symptoms. His wife so far has tested negative.

“The possibility of community transmission is higher than ever as the man did not wear a mask everywhere he went since his arrival, so it is important now more than ever to follow the regulations set by the department of health,” warned Dr Gedeon.

“Contact tracing has begun for the recent case and there is a possibility that certain establishments will have to be closed down as the man has been to a number of places in town and has visited various restaurants,” said Dr Gedeon.

The doctor said that this new case might have a possible link with the 137th case reported by the ministry last week.

Dr Gedeon stated that there are eight high-risk persons that have been put in quarantine following contact tracing. They have also identified 116 people who may have had possible contact with the infected and they are currently classified as low risk under surveillance.

Although the two infected persons do not know each other, they came into the country on the same plane, stayed at nearby hotels in the north and ate at the same restaurants.

Investigations are still underway to determine the source of infection.

“So far we have conducted 6000 PCR tests and that number is predicted to go up in September as we have already conducted 700 tests this month,” Dr Gedeon.

The doctor also reminded the public that we are currently in a state of public health emergency and public gathering is still illegal.

“Now that election campaign is about to begin, it is important that home visits and gatherings are done following the guidelines given as there is the possibility of community transmission and universal precautions must be followed,” Dr Gedeon said.

Joining Dr Gedeon on the health panel was ASP Jean Toussaint who talked about the measures the police department is taking with regard to the upcoming elections and public behaviour.

“We are not in normal times as we are facing a pandemic, so it is important that political leaders and the general public abstain from public gatherings and become more cautious,” he said.

He noted that motorcades are being conducted with too many people in one vehicle, not wearing any masks, using alcohol or driving without a patent.

“The police will use every resource it has to make sure that order and peace is being respected in relation to activities being conducted. Nomination Day is next week and we expect that there will be more activities to be conducted so we ask political leaders to respect the Election Act,” ASP Toussaint said.

Danny Lucas, chairperson of the Electoral Commission, was also present to talk about the upcoming election.

“People taking part in home visits, motorcades and other campaign activities will have to follow the guidelines that have been set by the department of health to make sure that the community does not suffer for the carelessness of someone else,” said Mr Lucas.

He also called on political leaders to talk to their activists and supporters to make sure that their activities are done in moderation.

Regarding Election Day, Mr Lucas noted that additional precautions will have to be taken if there is a possible outbreak and he assured that no matter what elections will take place next month.

Mr Lucas also touched on the subject of how someone under quarantine will be able to vote. He noted that the Electoral Commission is under no obligation to make special provisions for people in quarantine to vote, adding that for the time being a decision has not been made with regard to this issue.

With regard to rumours circulating on social media about possible outbreaks, Dr Gedeon said that people should only rely on released statements from the department of health rather than from unknown sources on social media.

He noted that these rumours are detrimental to the health workers doing their jobs as people are criticising them by way of fake information.

Dr Gedeon also talked about the resurgence of new Covid cases in countries from which visitors were previously allowed to enter Seychelles. He noted that the list will be reviewed and some countries will be taken off.

 

Vidya Gappy

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