After new COVID case, Seychelles shuts down non-essential services
The essential services will include shops selling necessary commodities like groceries, food products among others. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles on Wednesday at midnight will shut down non-essential services and restrict the movements of people for 21 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a top health official said on Tuesday.
The new strict measures -- in line with prevention efforts seen around the world -- came after a 26-year-old Seychellois man who works as a ground handling staff at Seychelles' international airport tested positive for the virus on Monday, bringing the nation's total cases to 11.
"The fact that he has been circulating in the population when he developed symptoms it is possible that other people have been exposed and will test positive as of today. ... It is for this reason that new measures will be announced and this will start with a restriction on people's movement," Jude Gedeon, the Public Health Commissioner, told a press conference.
"The principal objective of the measures is to break the transmission chain. So we have to stop people from circulating, detect those infected and remove them from circulation," he added.
The essential services will include shops selling necessary commodities like groceries, banks, public utilities, health care facilities, embassies, a reduction in public transportation and district administrations among others.
"All building contractors will be asked to suspend construction work in the country so there will not be any movement of construction workers from residential areas to construction areas," said Gedeon.
A complete list of the essential services that will remain open will be published on Wednesday.
To ensure people abide by the restrictions, the police have several checkpoints in place and the deputy commissioner of police, Ted Barbe, said operations centres have also been set up.
The operation centres on Mahe, the main island, will be at the police headquarters in Victoria to cover the central region, at the Police Academy at Pointe Larue for the south region and at the Glacis community centre for the northern region.
One centre will be on Praslin which will also cover La Digue island.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has 10 patients in the isolation centre at Perseverance. One patient who has tested negative twice has been taken to the quarantine centre at Berjaya where there are 63 people. There are 16 people at the Coastguard facility.
The chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange, said two new centres have been set up on Mahe for patients reporting with fever. One at Anse Royale and the other at Mont Fleuri.