The health authority in Seychelles is revising a travel advisory for India in view of a worsening of transmission of COVID-19 there, even as the island nation re-implements some restrictive social rules as the number of COVID cases is again rising at home.
Seychelles Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon told a press conference that as of Friday, travellers from India will not be permitted to travel to or enter Seychelles. The same rules apply to Brazil.
Since mid-last week, travellers from India had been permitted to travel to Seychelles with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
“We have seen that the practicality of enforcing that is difficult. Getting a vaccine is difficult and verifying the vaccination certificate is also difficult. So from the discussion we have held, we will be putting India in the same category as Brazil. This means that vaccinated or not they will not be allowed in the country. A revised travel advisory will be released by tomorrow,” said Gedeon.
The Public Health Commissioner said that the current trend in Seychelles in the last three days shows that there is a deepening of community transmission.
“We are seeing widespread community transmission with a daily average of 70 cases … When we are doing contact tracing we’ve seen that these are linked to the Easter celebration. If there is the same behaviour during the Labour Day celebration on Saturday we will see a worsening of the situation in the country,” he said.
Gedeon said that the health authority is taking certain measures to mitigate transmission and these will include enforcement on gathering restrictions especially around Labour Day on May 1.
“There will be enforcement of movement after 11 pm and there will be roadblocks whereby the police will be assisted with other forces. We will also enforce the wearing of masks in key places and these include indoors, ferries, planes and crowded places. All workplaces and businesses are being asked to cancel social gatherings both in government and private places as of today,” said Gedeon.
He added that contact tracing has shown that many transmission is taking place in workplaces and are then brought home.
All sporting events with spectators are also suspended while religious services will be done under strict protocols and people are advised to work from home as much as possible.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has recorded 5,702 cases of COVID-19 out of which 612 are still active, and this includes 44 health workers. The island nation has recorded 27 deaths.
Meanwhile, almost 60 percent of the total population of 98,400 has received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“This does not mean that we stop taking protection measures and this is what we are seeing in the country. Vaccines do not give complete protection to stop you from transmitting the virus. You can get infected and then transmit to someone else,” said Gedeon.
He said that reports on cases will as of next week be done on a twice-weekly basis to reflect the current trend and give new testing laboratories time to submit their results.
“We have other laboratories that have started doing PCR tests. Many were doing antigen tests but now we have at least two private labs that will start doing PCR tests and they will have to submit their statistics with the Ministry of Health. We will have to collect and analyse data and we will need human resources to do this work,” he said.