13 new COVID-19 cases detected amongst fishing crew |08 July 2020
● Potential new cases amongst Seychellois contacts
Thirteen additional seafarers have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of infected fishing crew members on board European vessel from 70 to 83.
Public health commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, in a press conference yesterday at the Sheikh Khalifa diagnostic centre, noted that the health authorities are undertaking contact tracing exercises to identify and monitor the locals that were in contact with these seafarers.
“We have been doing some contact tracing to find Seychellois who were in contact with them during the crew change, including the cabin crew, ground-handling staff, drivers, handy-men and they are all being monitored,” Dr Gedeon explained.
Dr Gedeon noted that, as of yesterday, these contacts are being tested and highlighted that there is a great likelihood that some of these Seychellois might test positive for COVID-19.
This is a strikingly different tone taken by the health officials since, at the initial onset of the second wave some two weeks ago, they stated that the fishing crew had minimal contact with local personnel during their move from the airport to their fishing vessels.
“It is a normal procedure to monitor contacts whenever there are new cases that come up, even if they are low, medium or high risk contacts. The protocols are in place but unfortunately people do not always follow the measures to the letter; we have heard that there were some Seychellois who fist-bumped some of the crew and any physical contact can spread the virus,” Dr Gedeon said.
“If some of the crew members did not leave their masks on while inside an enclosed space, they may also have shed the virus in the air and contaminated others. So all of these are being considered.”
With the possibility of COVID-19 infections amongst Seychellois, Dr Gedeon gave a note of warning to entertainment areas such as casinos and bars, of which some have been seen hosting a lot of people without any regards for social distancing, and explained that the authorities might consider closing down these venues.
Large gatherings on the beach are also being frowned upon.
It is to be noted that, as of today, masks will become a requirement for boarding on Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) buses.
In regards to the 13 new cases amongst the fishing crew, Dr Gedeon noted that testing undertaken on Sunday picked up nine Spanish who tested positive, one Kenyan and three West African crew members.
He said that the majority of these active cases are quarantined on 12 vessels stationed in a quarantine zone outside of Port Victoria.
“We have two persons at the isolation centre in Perseverance, one is being discharged today (July 7), the other one is recuperating, hopefully by the end of the week he will also be discharged,” said Dr Gedeon.
Meanwhile, Dr Danny Louange detailed that there are presently 76 people quarantined at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay facility with another 20 at South-East island.