Yachts and private jets request entry to Seychelles as country slowly re-opens
Seychelles' international airport reopened for commercial flights starting June 1. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The health authorities have received about 15 requests for permission to enter the Seychelles with the opening of the seaport and airport on June 1, a top official said on Tuesday.
"We have received requests from yachts and private jets. When carrying out risk analysis, we found that allowing open-entry commercial flights will pose a high risk. This is why, to start things off in June, we will be receiving only private and chartered flights. They will follow certain conditions," said Jude Gedeon, the Public Health Commissioner.
Passengers coming to Seychelles on private jets must be destined to an authorised resort, yacht or residential facilities. They also have to come on chartered flights from the list of low-risk countries published by the Department of Health.
Chartered cargo flights that may carry passengers -- namely patients, returning Seychellois nationals or students who completed their studies -- can also enter the country after being given authorisation.
Anyone wishing to come to Seychelles currently has to fill out a form available on the website of the Department of Health. The form is reviewed by a team at the Department and a decision taken on whether to approve the request or not.
"Airplanes that are carrying out commercial flights such as Air Seychelles, Ethiopian Airlines and Turkish Airline also need to ask for permission each time they make a commercial flight for Seychelles," said Gedeon.
Last week, the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre did an exercise where the team assessed the trend and magnitude of COVID-19 transmission in other countries. This included looking at the responsiveness of the countries public health system and advisories from Public Health Authorities.
Subsequently, the team came up with a list of 19 countries considered as low-risk, where the epidemic appears to be under good control. Visitors from these countries can enter Seychelles under certain conditions.
A fee of $50 will need to be paid per visitor upon entry to cover the cost of screening and tests done on the passenger when they arrive in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
To make the list, a country must also have a low incidence of cases and reliable data. As the risk assessment of COVID-19 is dynamic, the list of countries will be kept under constant review and may be amended.