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Health ministry urges people to protect themselves against Covid-19 |23 September 2022

Health ministry urges people to protect themselves against Covid-19

Dr Gedeon and Dr Louange during the press conference yesterday (Photo: Patrick Joubert)

The Ministry of Health has called on the general public to assume some additional responsibilities to protect themselves against Covid-19 following an upward trend in new cases which have more than tripled in the last two weeks since the beginning of September 2022.

It was Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, who, yesterday at the Seychelles Hospital Red Roof building, made the call during a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country. The press briefing was a result of the upward trend in new Covid-19 cases. Also present was the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange.

As of September 20, 2022, there are 445 active cases with a seven-day rolling average of 46 active cases compared to 212 active cases,with a seven-day rolling average of 25 cases recorded on September 11, 2022, and 166 active cases, with a seven-day rolling average of 12 cases recorded on September 4, 2020. A total of 414 cases were detected in public health facilities while 31 were detected in private health facilities. Most of the tests for detection of the active cases were through rapid antigen tests at 72% while 18% was through PCR testing.

Anse Boileau is the district with the most active cases (30) followed by Anse Royale (28), English River(23) and Anse Aux Pins (22).

Dr Gedeon explained that the 445 cases are reported cases and the trend of transmission could be higher as people may or may not have Covid-19 symptoms and have not gone to be tested for the virus. At the moment there are only nine patients admitted at the Seychelles Hospital and five at the North East Point Hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19. There are no patients in other Covid-19 facilities which have been closed down for the moment.

He stated that as the number of cases increases, sooner or later there will be an increase in Covid-19 admission of people with severe illness who require hospital care and intervention and sadly leading to death of people who have deficiencies of the immune system.

As Omicron was the variant in circulation in August, Dr Gedeon said the ministry is in the process of establishing if there is sub variant with connection with Omicron that is circulating this month and affecting people.

He said that the majority of active cases are re-infected cases, which is a combination of people who have taken only one or two doses (fully vaccinated) and those who have not taken any vaccine against the virus.

He noted that the ministry has for now not seen the need to change the public health social measures, but only advise the public to protect themselves and others, and to be more responsible to avert going back to restrictions should the trend escalates.

Among relevant preventive measures to protect against Covid-19 and to curb its transmission, Dr Gedeon said people should do the things done before.

People with the symptom should avoid mixing in crowds and should go for a test.

People testing positive for the virus are to stay at home in isolation and wear a face mask.

He also said people can still wear their face masks while in public and sanitise and wash their hands with soap as often as possible to avoid spreading or catching the virus.

The doctor said it is not the relaxing of health measures that has caused the increase in cases but could be that the immunity in the community has decreased due to the vaccination uptake which has gone down, people taking less preventive measures, schools which have reopened and mass gatherings which are things that can fuel further the upsurge in the Covid-19 outbreak.

Regarding the Covid-19 vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds, Dr Gedeon said the importance of vaccinating this age group is to help build the community immunity to curb the transmission of the virus faster.

He noted that while it is true children do not get severe illness from the virus, they do fall sick sometimes and contribute to spread the infection.

He added that they should contact the Anse Aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Royale, Beau Vallon, English River, Les Mamelles, Grand Anse Praslin and La Digue health centres, including the communicable disease control unit (CDCU) for Covid-19 vaccinations done on a daily basis.

Out of a population of 99,258, eighty-one thousand three hundred and fifty-nine (81,359 or 82%) people have taken the first and second doses of the vaccines and 43,049 (43%) have taken the third booster dose. 85,532 people (86%) have taken only one dose, while 5,942 (6%) have taken the fourth booster dose.

He encouraged people to come forward to get their third booster dose which will further boost their immunity against the virus.

As for Health Care Agency chief executive, Dr Danny Louange, he said with the health operations services being back to normal following the decrease in the trend in the pandemic, people have to go through the normal services of the clinics and health centres to seek Covid-19 services.

He called on the public to wear a mask when accessing health services and also when visiting patients at the Seychelles Hospital. There should be only two visitors at one time per patient.


Patrick Joubert

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