Covid-19 update | 13 November 2020
Three active Covid cases in Seychelles
As at yesterday afternoon, there are three active Covid-19 cases in Seychelles, and a further 150 persons under quarantine at two facilities.
Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, noted during yesterday’s press update at the Sheikh Khalifa Diagnostic Centre that there were five active cases up until Wednesday November 12, but two patients have since been discharged on account that they were asymptomatic, and the time period for which they should have been under surveillance before being considered recovered, has elapsed.
Of the three cases, one was detected on Mahé, while the two others at two separate island resorts, with the most recent case being recorded on Tuesday November 10.
The health ministry is undertaking risk assessments and contact tracing to determine whether it is safe to keep the individuals at the accommodation where they remain in isolation, or whether to move them to a facility on Mahé.
As for the patient on Mahé, the patient is currently being treated at the Isolation centre, Perseverance and is in stable condition, according to the chief executive of the Health Care Agency (HCA), Dr Danny Louange.
A total of 150 persons are in quarantine, 137 at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay quarantine facility, and an additional 13 at the Coastguard facility, Persévérance. All persons in quarantine are said to be doing well.
With regard to travel advisories, Dr Gedeon yesterday advised that there are presently 40 countries categorised as category 1, while seven countries are in category 2, effective as from November 16. Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Portugal and Sweden have been removed from category 1 while Cuba, Israel, Japan, Maldives, Malta, Saudi Arabia and Zambia have been added to category 1. Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland have been moved to category 2.
“When we look at the tendency in key markets in terms of commerce and tourism, these special status countries, or countries that have significance for us, the number of new cases per day, you will remark the fast climbing trend for the month of November,” Dr Gedeon remarked, noting the importance of observing health guidelines.
The number of cases recorded daily and number of Covid-19 tests per day is an important consideration for the health ministry to properly categorise the countries according to the risk-level, for inbound travellers from such countries.
As from next week, all inbound visitors will undergo another PCR test after the fifth day, the costs of which are to be subsidised by the government.
In addition to providing an overview of the local situation, Dr Gedeon addressed the issue of vaccines, most specifically the vaccine developed by American-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Germany based BioNTech which has thus far proven to be 90 percent effective. While he noted that the ministry is doing the necessary to ensure that vaccines are made available in Seychelles eventually, he remarked that it is unlikely that vaccines will be available on a mass scale until next year, and the final phases of trials concluded.
“Seychelles has already started the process to access vaccines when it becomes available through the COVAX programme that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put forth. We have expressed our interest to participate in the initiative but certain conditions need to be met, and this includes an advanced payment. We have already communicated with WHO, and the director has written to the head of state to ask if Seychelles is still interested, and the response has been given and what we can afford to spend.
“As you know, we are already in a difficult economic situation and we are asking that we can have access to the vaccine at a discounted price, or for free. As a high income country, we do not qualify for some of the privileges of other less developed countries but our economic situation has completely changed, so we are looking into the possibilities of this,” Dr Gedeon clarified.
The objective is for community or herd immunity, Dr Gedeon said, achieved through vaccinating as much of the population as possible, although the more vulnerable, including young children and senior citizens are to be vaccinated first. Vaccination regulations are being drafted, added Dr Gedeon remarking that Seychelles has one of the best vaccination coverages in the world.
To conclude, Dr Louange urged the public to cooperate and respect guidelines with regard to hospitals and health facilities, including screening requirements. Specifically he demanded that visits be as brief as possible and that young children should not be visiting such facilities unless in exceptional circumstances.
He also advised with regard to medication and prescriptions in a bid to curb abuse, and offset the high expenses incurred by the ministry in importing medicines.