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Seychelles and COVID-19: Opposition leader in national assembly advocates for a two-week lock-down

Victoria, Seychelles | March 23, 2020, Monday @ 18:30 in National » HEALTH | By: Daniel Laurence Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5457
Seychelles and COVID-19: Opposition leader in national assembly advocates for a two-week lock-down

Ramkalawan (2nd from right) said a lock-down would provide the department of health and other authorities the opportunity to properly assess the situation(Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency).

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The leader of Seychelles' opposition in the National Assembly says that the island nation should carry out a two-week lock-down to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Wavel Ramkalawan, leader of the Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) in the Assembly told a press conference on Saturday that a lock-down would provide the department of health and other authorities the opportunity to properly assess the situation and ensure that measures such as social distancing become more effective.

The proposed lock-down was endorsed by the leader of the Lalyans Seselwa party, Patrick Pillay, who said that "a 14-day lock-down would at least allow all the concerned authorities to come together for an urgent dialogue on how best to implement emergency measures."

The Department of Health in its latest advisory on Sunday said that all public gatherings which attract crowds or compromise social distancing are strictly forbidden and that no permission will be granted by the police for any public gathering.

Another measure proposed by Ramkalawan is the necessity for an overall coordinating authority to develop the strategies and coordinate the response to this emergency.

"The most direct way to do this is to set up a COVID-19 fund under the Public Finances Act which will be managed by a board. The board will manage all financial demands from all sectors," said Ramkalawan.

In his address on Friday, President Danny Faure said that SCR 1.2 billion ($88 million) will be unlocked to support businesses and the government will not entertain any redundancies.

"While we support the government to step in to support economic operators to remain viable and that no employee should be left stranded, the proposal for any bail-out to should be well calculated," said Ramkalawan.

He added that "businesses with large cash holdings do not need the same level of assistance as individuals, self-employed persons, and small and medium-sized enterprise. Salary should be prioritized to Seychellois."

Speaking at the LDS press conference, Ahmed Afif, elected member of the district of Anse Etoile and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, said that the impact will be on tourism mostly.

He said that from tourism only, Seychelles is earning approximately $600 million and the impact will be significant on the economy. 

Tourism is the top contributor to the group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

Seychelles has seven positive cases of COVID-19 receiving treatment at the Isolation Centre at the Family Hospital on the manmade island of Perseverance. One patient is in critical condition while the others are stable. 

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Tags: COVID-19, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, Lalyans Seselwa

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