Seychelles' Ministry of Health bans travel to China due to coronavirus
Local travel agents and services have been requested to advise all clients from China who were planning to visit Seychelles for the coming months to withdraw their bookings. (Patrick Joubert)
(Seychelles News Agency) - People from Seychelles are not allowed to travel to China except returning Chinese residents until further notice due to the coronavirus threat, the Ministry of Health said in a travel advisory update on Tuesday.
The Ministry added that local travel agents and services have been requested to advise all clients from China who were planning to visit Seychelles for the coming months to withdraw their bookings until the outbreak is brought under control.
In a press statement on Tuesday, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) said, "Local partners are encouraged to apply special consideration for Chinese nationals and others who have travelled to China in the last 14 days who were planning to visit Seychelles for the next coming months by allowing these clients to withdraw or push their bookings."
STB said the statement follows an earlier communication from the Chinese Association of Travel Services to the local destination management companies in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean
The Association said that as the Chinese government has advised its citizens to refrain from travelling, Chinese tourists should not be penalised as a result of the sudden epidemic.
STB said that the hotel service providers and other destination service providers are being requested to provide Chinese and other clients from China who have booked a holiday in Seychelles for the coming months with preferential terms and special policies for refunds, removal of charges in cancellation fees, extension for travels until a later date.
According to the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics last week, 258 visitors from China came to Seychelles up to January 23.
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 World Health Organisation's (WHO) report 7 on January 27, a total of 2,798 cases of Novel Coronavirus have been confirmed globally, 37 of which are outside of China.
Meanwhile, the first Seychellois students to be evacuated from China are due to arrive home on Wednesday, following a government decision to return the students to the island nation earlier this week.
Upon arrival in Seychelles, the students will be screened for high body temperatures at the airport as any other passenger would be. Health officials will visit the students on a daily basis to check on their status and take action should any be required.
The Ministry of Health is also advising all travellers to monitor their health closely for two weeks upon return to Seychelles and seek medical attention promptly if feeling unwell, and also inform their doctor of their travel history.