2 Seychellois test positive for COVID-19 as globe-sweeping virus reaches island nation
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(Seychelles News Agency) - Two Seychellois who arrived in Seychelles from Italy have tested positive for the COVID-19, the Public Health Commissioner said on Saturday.
In an interview on SBC television, Jude Gedeon said, “This morning we learned that two Seychellois who came in on 11th March had contact with someone in Italy who tested positive. So we went to see them and although one of them only had a dry cough, we decided to test them. Their tests this evening are positive for both man and woman.”
The two patients have been transferred from the quarantine facility at Perseverance to the isolation unit set up at Anse Royale hospital for treatment and case management.
The two cases are the first confirmed instances of the virus touching the isolated island nation, which had taken strong steps to try to prevent foreign tourists from bringing the infectious disease to the population of 95,000.
Gedeon said that although the two patients “are not showing serious symptoms we decided to put them in the isolation unit at Anse Royale for them to receive treatment and for us to monitor them closely. At this moment no one of the two has a fever.”
He added that the two positive cases have activated the other stages of the prevention and preparedness plan.
“For example out contact tracing system has started where they sat in the aircraft and the people they had been in contact with. They were transferred straight from their airport to the quarantine facility. So they have not been in contact with many people,” he said.
Also activated is the public health emergency centre where the technical and key personnel are working.
Gedeon said that “by early next week, we will take other measures with regards to public gathering and even if the community transmission has not happened we are going to take more severe measures to control movement and prevent transmission.”
The health authority is asking people to stay calm and not to panic “because we have been able to detect the two cases very early and we will contain them as per the plan we have put in place."
Since January, the Public Health Authority in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has activated its disease surveillance and response system to detect cases of the coronavirus.