Travellers arriving in Seychelles from China being screened, monitored for signs of coronavirus
The authorities are screening travellers entering Seychelles from China. (Jude Morel)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Travellers entering Seychelles from China are being screened upon arrival at the international airport after the local health authority activated its disease surveillance and response system to detect cases of the coronavirus.
The Seychelles' public health commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference on Friday that public health officers are closely monitoring Chinese visitors currently in the country.
“Since early this week we have started to screen all passengers coming from China by checking their body temperature. We are collecting all details about where they are staying in Seychelles and visiting them on a daily basis, even those on Praslin, to measure their temperature,” said Gedeon.
The novel coronavirus, a new strain of the virus which has not been previously identified in humans, was identified in Wuhan, China in late December. According to the latest update on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website “a total of 581 confirmed cases have been reported for novel coronavirus globally,” of which “571 cases were reported from China.”
Other cases have been reported in Thailand, Japan, Korea and the U.S, all with travel history in Wuhan. To date, there has been no transmission of the virus outside China.
Gedeon said that to date Seychelles has not welcomed any passenger from Wuhan.
“Now that we know that China has shut down these cities, we are not expecting that there will be any passengers coming from Wuhan. However, our surveillance system at the airport is still maintained on all flights,” added Gedeon
Health officers at the airport have already been briefed on what to do should there be any suspected cases.
An infected person suffering from the virus will have a fever, respiratory symptoms, cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Currently, there is no vaccine for the virus, which can be transmitted from person to person after close contact with an infected patient. There is also no treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, however, many of the symptoms can be treated.
“We are putting in place the resources that we need to be able to detect, control, support and treat suspected coronavirus patients. We have prepped all the health centres on all the main islands and we have also prepared our hospitals,” said Danny Louange, the chief executive of the Seychelles’ Health Care Agency.
He added that should there be any suspected case, the health facility in the southern district of Anse Royale will be used to accommodate the suspected patient. Other patients being treated for other conditions at the hospital will be transferred to the Seychelles Hospital beforehand.
Health officers are being trained and briefed to make sure that they are up to date about the development of the situation.