Covid-19 update | 09 October 2020
Four active cases in Seychelles
• 144 cases recovered
Once our borders opened to commercial flights, the risk of having positive cases of Covid-19 is ever present. As of October 8, 2020, Seychelles now has four active cases of Covid-19 – three Seychellois and 1 resident – while 144 cases have recovered.
This was announced by the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gédéon, in a press conference yesterday at the Sheikh Khalifa diagnostic centre. He was accompanied by the Health Care Agency’s chief executive, Dr Danny Louange.
The outbreak is accelerating in some parts of the world especially in the Americas, South East Asia and Europe. The increase might be due to the upcoming winter season on these continents. We are seeing acceleration in many European countries. It is important to note that in some countries the increase is gradual like Switzerland, Italy. We have also witnessed a gradual decrease in mortality rate. In the UAE even if the number of cases keeps increasing, it is good to note that the number of tests also are increasing. This might be the reason why the number of cases increased. However there are only some 10,000 active cases in the UAE and 436 deaths. Currently UAE is in a special status category.”
100 people are in quarantine at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay and four people are in isolation. “All patients are doing ok but we remain on alert as we have visitors and returning Seychellois coming from countries at risk. We keep asking for the public’s cooperation to make the system work. In terms of triage also, we are strengthening our system and currently at the English River clinic, we are constructing a facility so that we can use this as a permanent data entry and registration of patients. This process will be introduced in other clinics also.”
Talking about the strict observance of the quarantine rule, Dr Gédéon once again explained the principle behind the decisions. “For Seychellois, they may return from any country and if they are coming from countries from Category I they go directly for home quarantine/surveillance. Whereas if they come from any other countries not in the Category 1 list, they will have to be quarantined in an approved facility. Their PCR test should be at least 72 hrs prior to departure.”
“For visitors, if they are coming from permitted countries, they have to go in approved establishments which are found on the tourism website. But if they are coming from special status countries (France, UAE, UK), they have to have their PCR test 48hrs prior to travelling and they have to spend five days in a transit hotel and do another PCR test in five days. If negative, they can remain or move to other approved establishments,” explained Dr Gédéon.
“If a tourism establishment does not abide by the laws, it might lose its license to operate,” stressed Dr. Gédéon.
“All measures that we have established is to protect the Seychellois,” added Dr Louange.
Responding to a question from the press, Dr Gédéon confirmed that there are some people who are in quarantine at home. “These cases were evaluated by the committee. These are mostly exceptions such as diplomats and all the houses were visited by the HCA. Henceforth, the decision has been taken that apart from the diplomats, we will not grant home quarantine as it is becoming hard to administer. Unless there is a surge in the country where we need more spaces. Parents who come with children below one year old, people with specific health conditions are being considered for home quarantine.”
Dr Gédéon confirmed that all Seychellois who are in quarantine at Berjaya will be able to vote as a special station will be set up by the Electoral Commission. Whereas if someone is in isolation, then the person will not be able to leave the hospital as he/she is not stable, like for many other health patients. If their health are not stable, they cannot vote,” explained Dr Louange.
“We are also working with Foreign Affairs to see if international observers can come from low/medium risk countries. Our role is to make sure that the health of our population is not put at risk.”
Regarding Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay
There has been many remarks from the public regarding the state and hygiene of the rooms. “We also have received many complaints and good remarks from those who did their quarantine at Berjaya. When we assess the situation, we have to be realistic that Berjaya is not a new hotel! Spending 14 days alone in a room is not easy. We took all these complaints and good remarks seriously and managed the situation as best we could. Yes there are some rooms where we had issues with and now we are not using them anymore. All the rooms that we are using right now are proper to maintain a good hygiene level. We provide the cleaning stuff to the person staying in the room and once they complete their quarantine, the staff of the health department do a deep sanitisation and cleaning,” explained Dr Louange.
Dr Gédéon also confirmed that “it is human interaction that gives you Covid-19 and not the hygiene status of a room. So far according to our records, no one has contracted Covid-19 at Berjaya”.
Regarding the fact that as from December 1 Berjaya might start taking tourists again, Dr Louange noted that all this depend on the contract they have with the institution.
“Even if we said at the end of November, if we see the need to renew the contract together with the Ministry of Finance and Berjaya we will consult upon it.”
Other hot topics were addressed during the press conference such as the use of Anse Royale Hospital. Dr Louange explained that the hospital has been kept for future isolation.
“If there is a surge, we will need space to put the positive patients in.”
Clarifying an incident involving some Russian tourists, Dr Gédéon said “Yes there was some misunderstanding regarding the papers but everything was sorted out and we made sure our surveillance system was respected. At no point did they flout any health instructions and they did not put anyone at risk.”
Regarding staff protection “our priority still remain that we protect our staff from being infected and while working in quarantine, all staff follow strict health regulations. The staff in isolation centre are more equipped and after work they are safe to go home. The staff are also being tested often,” added Dr Louange.
“There is no country in the world where there is no Covid-19. In Seychelles, we worked together with various stakeholders to manage our situation and we are applying the same principles to manage more risky situations. We will not be able to stay closed forever. We have to find out ways to manage the situation. It is a job that needs to be done in collaboration with all the people. It is important for us to manage our country safely and make our economy work. If you want to market Seychelles as a Covid free destination, help us keep it Covid free!” concluded Dr Gédéon.