Covid-19 situation in Seychelles |16 October 2020
One active case on Ile Platte
The number of active cases in the country has gone back down to one which happens to be an Indian construction worker who is presently in isolation on Ile Platte.
As of October 15, 2020, Seychelles tables only this imported active case and 148 recovered cases.
In the weekly health press update yesterday at the Sheikh Khalifa Diagnostic Centre, public health commissioner Dr Jude Gedeon stated that the active case arrived in the country almost two weeks ago on an Air Seychelles chartered flight.
“He is now on Ile Platte, he is asymptomatic and was diagnosed last weekend after his first week here. He has been isolated separately from the others,” said Dr Gedeon.
The active case was detected after a team of health officials were dispatched on the outer island, some 130km south of Mahé, to carry out tests on the 126-strong group. The team will be travelling back to Ile Platte again today to take a second round of samples from the group, Dr Gedeon explained.
There are presently no patients in the Family Hospital treatment centre since the four patients there have been discharged and placed at Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay for convalescence.
“Locally, we have had no health care workers who have been infected with Covid-19 and that is due to the stringent protective measures that are put in place and all of the resources that the government puts at the disposal of the workers to ensure they are well protected,” added Dr Gedeon yesterday.
The department of health has so far run a total of 1,400 tests for this month. Meanwhile, it tested over 4,100 samples in September 2020 ‒ the highest month to date ‒ 2,231 in August and 1,290 in July.
These are comparatively higher figures than the first and second quarter of the year during which there had been 211 tests in March, 84 in April, 204 in May and 439 in June.
But this increase can easily be attributed to the reopening of the country’s airspace to private jets and chartered flights in June and return of commercial flights as of August.
Nonetheless, Dr Gedeon yesterday added that “we have seen a drop in the number of visitors coming in by commercial flights. That is partly due to the change in the outbreak in our main tourism markets”.
With the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in Europe while situations in other regions in the world improve, the department of health expects to come out with a revised list of permitted countries that can gain entry in Seychelles.
“Globally, the Covid-19 outbreak continues to affect different parts of the world differently but most countries in Europe are seeing resurgence, notable among those are France, United Kingdom (UK), Spain where there have been new restrictions and measures in many areas to try to contain the outbreak.”
“Even though cases in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also increasing, it is not as rapid as in Europe,” said Dr Gedeon.
Dr Gedeon stated that countries such as Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria ‒ our main markets ‒ might be downgraded to category two status, with special conditions attached.
Category two of permitted countries are subject to a set of different measures among which are PCR tests prior to travel should be no more than 48 hours, stay within hotels designated for category two countries and restricted movement for the first five days of the stay in Seychelles.
Some African countries where Covid-19 has been put somewhat under control will now feature on the permitted countries list. This includes South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Meanwhile, Dr Danny Louange, chief executive of the Health Care Agency, said there are 103 persons quarantined at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay facility.
“On our side we continue to receive Seychellois, returning residents and GOP (gainful occupation permit) holders in the quarantine facility from countries that do not feature on the list of permitted countries. We continue to monitor them closely; no one has shown symptoms.”
Dr Louange noted that the department of health is taking the opportunity with no patients at the Family Hospital isolation and treatment centre to undertake training to boost the capacity of health workers.
Seychelles has also recently received a donation of 100,000 Covid-19 tests from the UAE government which Dr Louange said is “important for us, it’s a big help to assist us in stock up on what we already have”.
As for queries over whether Seychellois are expected to pay quarantine facilities, Dr Louange clarified that Seychellois whose country of residence is not Seychelles will have to pay for quarantine while those who are coming back into Seychelles where they reside are exempted.
“Because the cost of quarantine is borne by the government of Seychelles, from the country’s coffers, we have to use the money well. A defining line has been drawn between the two categories of Seychellois,” said Dr Louange.
Quarantine cost can be paid by installments after negotiations, Dr Louange said, but added that it is preferable for Seychellois to pay for the facilities in one go.
Seychellois who are coming back into the Seychelles from countries on the permitted list are allowed to home quarantine and surveillance.