Nine active cases in Seychelles |04 September 2020
Face masks to become compulsory in public places
To date out of 136 positive cases registered, there are only nine cases active for the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Seychelles.
This was said by the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gédéon, in yesterday’s press conference to give an update of the Covid-19 situation in the country.
He was accompanied by Health Care Agency chief executive, Dr Danny Louange.
More than 5200 tests have been done and the nine active cases are non-Seychellois.
“Most of the tests are being done on travellers coming in and going out of the country and the 9 active patients have not developed any symptoms yet and no one is admitted at the hospital,” confirmed Dr Gédéon.
He also noted that during the past week, the department of Health has consulted and worked a lot with the department of Tourism in order to see how to review the assessment of countries so as to welcome the tourists in a safe way.
Assessing changing risk status of countries – special status to main tourism market
1. Covid-19 PCR test 48 hours or less before boarding;
2. Limit travel by airlines with testing policy and recommended by PHA;
3. Repeat PCR test 4 days after arrival (HSO to be trained in sampling);
4. Client to strictly remain in hotel until result is ready;
5. Twice daily temperature check;
6. No change of hotel in first week;
7. Stay safe hotel must be ready (one on Mahé and one on Praslin)
8. May stay in only selected accommodations (Criteria)
Criteria for transit and stay-safe hotels
Criteria for transit and stay-safe hotels must be clearly established, and will include: Secure location not in a residential area; On-site catering or delivery service organised by the management; Adequate visitor facilities within the premises for a minimum stay of four days; Management and staff motivated, trained and competent; Clear protocols for staff and clients; Trained health and safety officer or focal person in place; Clear protocols for monitoring the health of visitors and staff and reporting to public health; Prompt access to health services and Deliveries of supplies and waste management protocols in place.
Guidance from WHO
Dr Gédéon highlighted on the following points made by the WHO director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his opening remarks at the media briefing on Covid-19 on August 31, 2020. “Eight months into the pandemic, we understand that people are tired and yearn to get on with their lives. We understand that countries want to get their societies and economies going again.WHO fully supports efforts to re-open economies and societies. We want to see children return to school and people return to the workplace – but we want to see it done safely. At the same time, no country can just pretend the pandemic is over. The reality is that this coronavirus spreads easily, it can be fatal to people of all ages, and most people remain susceptible.”
Four essential things
Dr Ghebreyesus further added that “We believe there are four essential things that all countries, communities and individuals must focus on to take control.
First, prevent amplifying events. Covid-19 spreads very efficiently among clusters of people. In many countries, we have seen explosive outbreaks linked to gatherings of people at stadiums, nightclubs, places of worship and in other crowds. Preventing these amplifying events is essential, but there are ways to hold gatherings safely in some places. Decisions about how and when to allow gatherings of people must be taken with a risk-based approach, in the local context. Countries or communities experiencing significant community transmission may need to postpone events for a short time to reduce transmission.
“Second, reduce deaths by protecting vulnerable groups, including older people, those with underlying conditions and essential workers. Countries that do this well may be able to cope with low levels of transmission as they open up. By protecting those who are most at risk, countries can save lives, prevent people becoming severely ill, and take the pressure off their health systems.
“Third, individuals must play their part by taking the measures we know work to protect themselves and others – stay at least one metre away from others, clean your hands regularly, practise respiratory etiquette, and wear a mask.
Avoid the ‘three Cs’: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.
“And fourth, governments must take tailored actions to find, isolate, test and care for cases, and trace and quarantine contacts. Widespread stay-at-home orders can be avoided if countries take temporary and geographically-targeted interventions.”
Dr Gédéon noted that the regulation for face masks to become obligatory in public places and closed places is being finalised. “People are already respecting the guidelines by wearing masks on public transport, airlines and boats. This regulation will also reinforce the wearing of mask in shops, public services where the 1 metre distance cannot be observed, religious places and any closed public areas,” noted Dr Gédéon.
Another law that is being worked on right now is to limit the movement of boats towards the south and south east of the Indian Ocean. “We have seen that some boats venture in this area for illegal activities and if any boat has to cross these frontiers, the coordinates have been designated in the regulation and the boat owner has to ask for permission with the PHA. If anyone is being caught beyond these coordinates, the Coast Guard will take necessary actions. Commercial boats are already registered and they need to notify their trajectory,” explained Dr Gédéon.
Currently, seventy-five people are in quarantine at Beau Vallon Berjaya Bay Hotel and they are all being monitored. “No one has any symptoms for now, and no one is currently in the isolation centre. We are using this time to train our colleagues to prepare in case there is a surge. We are continuously receiving materials such as beds and donations. But we are still having issues from the visitors at the hospital who refuse to wear masks. We all have to work together in order to better control the spread of the virus,” concluded Dr Louange.