COVID-19 Update |31 December 2020
44 active cases in Seychelles including 22 Seychellois
• 3 fever stations set up
We are ending 2020 with a cluster infection of Seychellois with Covid-19! Besides the mariners, this is the first time that Seychelles is registering such a big number of locals contracting the virus. A total of 44 active cases in the country including 22 Seychellois out of whom 21 new cases. One person is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit since Tuesday in critical condition and 18 cases are related to that cluster. Among the positive cases, one person is a health care worker and two other cases of Seychellois who were in quarantine have now tested positive.
There are 2 new positive cases among foreigners making a total of 22 active cases among visitors and GOP holders. Four Seychellois who have tested positive have been admitted to hospital, the others are in isolation at home, 54 people in quarantine at Avani, 4 in quarantine on Praslin, 6 at the Coast Guard Facility and 4 at the Family Hospital and 24 health care workers in quarantine at home.
Amongst the positive cases, there are children of three and 12 years old.
Following this spike in the number of cases, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gédéon, accompanied by the Health Care Agency chief executive, Dr Danny Louange, announced a series of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 infection and which are in force since yesterday (December 30) until January 13, 2021.
As announced by President Wavel Ramkalawan in a televised address on Tuesday night, a total of 69 persons have been found to be at higher risk. Among them are 28 health workers who have been identified as contacts. Also included are specialists who were working in the ICU and other health centres where the patient received medical treatment.
“This situation means there is a lot of pressure on our health services,” he said.
A series of measures have been announced by the Ministry of Health to ensure risk mitigation and service continuity while the 24 health care workers are in quarantine.
“A batch of 15 nurses and five doctors have been mobilised to cover for the medical staff currently in home quarantine. All non-emergency cases will be postponed except for cancer patients and the operating theatres will accommodate only emergency surgeries and cancer patients until further notice,” noted Dr Louange.
In order to better manage the initial triage among patients, the Ministry of Health is setting up three major ‘Fever Stations’ – one at Glacis (North), one at Baie Lazare (South) and one at Mont Fleuri (Central).
“Anyone who is having fever or having body aches and symptoms you think is related to Covid-19 has to report to these stations. The public should report to these stations as of Wednesday until further notice from 8am to 4pm. For the people who use these health centres for their regular consultations, we are asking them to diverge towards their regional centres as of today. We will make another announcement when the three ‘Fever stations’ will be re-opened for regular and normal consultations,” Dr Louange said.
One visitor per patient
Another major announcement made yesterday was the number of visitors per patient remains one. “In order to prevent people coming to the hospital in large numbers, security people will abide by a strict control. All visitors will be screened prior to entering the ward. If there is more than one visitor on the ward, the nurse, doctor or any personnel of the ministry will ask the people to leave. We urge members of the public to respect our health workers and not to swear at them as is usually the case. We have a common goal right now which is to break the chain of transmission. In order to achieve this we need to control that specific cluster and we need all your cooperation.”
“Since the patient arrived at the hospital over the week-end, the person who was accompanying the person was also detected positive and 20 other people were tested positive with Covid-19. Several of them have symptoms but there is only one in critical condition. All patients are being isolated in different places and those requiring treatment and intervention are at the Family Hospital at Perseverance and those with mild symptoms are at the Coast Guard facility. If the patient remains asymptomatic, he/she will be discharged after 10 days and if with symptoms they can be discharged after 14 days. Contact tracing for this new cluster infection is ongoing and will pursue during the festive season as all contacts for these contacts need to be identified and risk assessment needs to be done so that they can be classified as low/medium or high risk. More importantly we are calling on members of the public to respect the Public Health Orders that have been put in place effective as of Tuesday night. This will be reviewed before the expiry date (January 13) to see if there is a need for extension. These measures will be published for all members of public to see. The police will be there to enforce these laws. The recipes for the spread of Covid-19 is to disobey the laws and have parties etc. The circumstance we have now is a result of such an activity so for us to break the chain of transmission let us do what is required from us to avoid another extension of restrictive measures,” concluded Dr Gédéon.
The following measures are in force until January 13, 2021: restriction on all public gatherings; all schools from crèche to post-secondary will remain closed; no religious ceremonies will be held except for funerals; all bars, discotheques, casinos, spas, gyms and cinemas will remain closed; all competitive sports will be held without spectators; all end of year gatherings should be among close relatives only; all workplaces should encourage workers to work from home; the airport will remain open to receive visitors under existing conditions for visitors.
Now is the time to heed the advice of President Ramkalawan: “The measures are strict, but we need to head in that direction to protect our nation’s health and try to rebuild our country during this worrying situation. I am asking that everyone contribute and play a positive role, otherwise we will find ourselves having to take even stricter measures. We do not want to get to that so let us cooperate with one another.”
We have to remind ourselves of the precautionary measures such as regular hand washing, wearing of masks and social distancing.
Wishing you a safe and a smooth transition to 2021 among your loved ones.