President of Seychelles: Plan in place to prevent, respond to COVID-19
The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles' Cabinet of Ministers has approved a plan aimed at preventing the coronavirus (COVID-19) from entering the country, and if it arrives, to take control of the situation early and reduce its transmission, the President said in a televised addressed.
President Danny Faure addressed the nation Thursday, one day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
"For several weeks now, we have been working together as a team, public and private sector together. With close support from the World Health Organisation, we are collaborating to stop this new coronavirus from entering our country," he said.
A pandemic describes an infectious disease where there is significant and ongoing person-to-person spread in multiple countries around the world at the same time. The last pandemic was in 2009 when swine flu killed hundreds of thousands of people.
In an address on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic and said that there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.
The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, said that "luckily, until now nobody has tested positive for this virus here in Seychelles. Tonight, I would like to thank everybody for this collective effort. This spirit of working together must continue."
An additional measure the government is taking with immediate effect is a temporary ban on all official overseas travel by public officials.
Faure said that the government is "postponing all official conferences and gatherings that government has planned and that Seychelles would have been hosting in March, April and May this year."
Additionally, the Department of Immigration will make sure that all passengers disembarking in Seychelles, both Seychellois and foreigners, provide their detailed address and correct contact information.
"If they change their address, they will have to inform the Public Health Authority," said the President.
He added that the Defence Forces would assist and support the Department of Health with the implementation of the new National Plan, in addition to other logistics.
Faure said that government will have to put in place other measures based on the ongoing analysis by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank on the impact of this pandemic on the economy at the end of the month.
He called on citizens and residents to follow the advice issued by the Department of Health.
"It is important that we listen to the radio and follow the news for new information and advice shared by the Department of Health. They are also on social media. It is essential that we stay well-informed and up-to-date with their advice," said Faure.
"Let us avoid sharing false information that can create needless confusion and fear among our population," he added.
The President said that this is a dynamic situation that is continuously evolving but he would like "to reassure you all tonight that the government is monitoring the situation very closely, and will continue to take any necessary steps."
"Let us remain well-informed. Let us stay calm. Let us stay united. As President of the Republic, I am confident that with this spirit of working together as a country, we will be able to contain the spread of this virus and its impacts,' he concluded.