Seychelles records first Covid-19 death | 05 January 2021
By Elsie Pointe
The country has sadly recorded its first Covid-19 related death as it experiences its biggest surge of Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started.
Following a Ministry of Health press release on Sunday evening, President Wavel Ramkalawan confirmed the passing away of Vincent Pillay from Covid-19 complications at the Isolation and Treatment Centre.
The first fatal casualty of the coronavirus in Seychelles was 57 years old.
In a statement to the press, President Ramkalawan described Mr Pillay as “a personal friend”, a courageous man who was full of energy and, at one point, had played in the Seychelles national football team.
On behalf of the Republic of Seychelles, President Ramkalawan passed on his condolences to the family of Mr Pillay and his continued support to the public health and essential services workers.
The president did not hesitate to highlight the gravity of the Covid-19 situation in the country, noting that collective responsibility is primordial at this junction.
At the time the President spoke yesterday morning, the total number of Covid-19 cases has jumped to 313 with the discovery of 16 new cases.
Out of the 16 new cases, thirteen are Seychellois while the remaining three are foreigners.
“Last night we experienced 16 positive cases, of which three are foreigners. But what troubles us is that there are three cases on Praslin. We are working to conduct contact tracing and identify the sources of infection for these three cases,” said President Ramkalawan.
As the situation worsens, President Ramkalawan has appealed to those residing on Praslin and the inner islands to take more precautions.
To note, Praslin is also equipped with an isolation facility at Baie Ste Anne hospital.
President Ramkalawan noted that although mass testing for the virus is “on the agenda” and is being considered, the present priority is to break the chains of transmission.
He added that a separate announcement will be made next week in regards to the rolling out of the vaccination programme, in which front liners will be the first group to be inoculated.
In regards to some confusion on which businesses and services are to remain open, President Ramkalawan said more details are expected to come out to clarify the matter (see gazette published today).
Daycare centres are still operational and have been asked to take precautions, but parents who are staying in and working from home are advised to keep their children with them at home.
“Covid-19 is easy to get under control as long as we take our precautions; if we do not take heed of the precautionary measures it will obviously be catastrophic,” warned President Ramkalawan.
Following the press statement, President Ramkalawan went on to chair a cabinet meeting in which the 2021 budget was discussed.
According to the President, a declaration regarding the upcoming budget will be made today and he added that many Seychellois will be “shocked at some of these announcements because things are not how people think, it’s a lot worse”.