Seychelles and COVID-19: Movement restrictions to be lifted next week; schools, daycare to reopen later in May
President Danny Faure announced the easing of restriction in his national address on Monday. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - All restrictions on the movement of people in Seychelles to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be lifted Monday, May 4 if the situation remains under control, President Danny Faure said in a national address.
Schools and day care services will open later in May, and the Seychelles' airport will reopen for commercial flights from June 1 in line with guidance issued by the Department of Health, the president said in his announcement Monday.
Faure said the decision to lift certain restrictions followed discussions with the Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon and his team.
Religious and funeral services can also resume on May 4; all shops will be allowed to stay open until 8 p.m., and the majority of services and businesses will be able to reopen including construction as per guidance issued by the Department of Health.
Restrictions on the movement of people were reinforced after the 11th positive case of COVID-19 in Seychelles was recorded on April 5, a measure similar to what is being done globally to curb the spread of COVID-19. Since then there has been no new case in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Faure said that: "From 11 May, all child-minding and day-care services, all post-secondary institutions including A-Levels, Guy Morel Institute and the University of Seychelles, will reopen. From 18 May, all primary and secondary schools will reopen."
Restriction on travel to and from Seychelles will be removed from June 1 when the airport will reopen for commercial flights and this will also apply to leisure boats and yachts which will be able to enter the Seychelles' territory. All travel will be done in respect of guidance from the Department of Health.
"When we reopen our borders, we will undertake strict medical surveillance to detect any new cases and take the necessary steps," said Faure.
He announced that next month Air Seychelles will carry out repatriation flights for Seychellois patients presently in India and Sri Lanka and that "these flights will also serve any Seychellois currently stuck in these two countries: I urge them to get in touch with our embassies."
Sporting activities will also resume June 1 following guidance from the Department of Health. All other measures will remain in place.
"We must remember that the situation is dynamic and that measures can be reviewed or revised at any moment in the interest of protecting public health. We are in a new reality. One that requires a new way of doing things, a new way of living, and a new sense of responsibility," added Faure.
He said that even if certain measures have been lifted "we need to stay on our guard and take every precaution against this invisible enemy. If the situation changes, restrictions may need to be re-introduced: we will review the measures with the aim of continuing to safeguard the health of our people."
Faure said the Department of Health has started working with organisations to prepare customised plans on how they can function given the new reality the country is in.
"As we prepare ourselves for the lifting of certain restrictions, we also need to prepare ourselves to live in this new reality and consolidate a new way of doing things. As long as there is no vaccine or treatment for this virus, we need to stay alert, maintain physical distancing, and continue to follow guidance from the Department of Health," said the President.
He said this will "require a lot of work, a lot of sacrifices and a lot of readjustment on a personal and collective level. Things will not be like they were before. But I know that we can do it. And I know that because we are already doing it, together."