50 more new fishing crew members in Seychelles test positive for COVID-19, bringing total to 59
The 59 seafarers who have tested positive are now in isolation on three of the fleet’s vessels which have been turned into isolation centres. (Seychelles Fisheries Authority)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Fifty more crew members of the Spanish fleet fishing tuna in the Seychelles' waters have tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total to 59, the Department of Health said Friday.
The Department said it has taken samples from 198 seafarers and has obtained 146 results. Tests are being conducted on 52 others; those results will be updated Saturday.
The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference that the 59 seafarers who have tested positive are now in isolation on three of the fleet’s vessels which have been turned into isolation centres to deal with the situation. They are under the supervision of a doctor and have all the facilities required to manage their situation.
“At the moment none of them is showing any symptoms of being ill with COVID-19, but if any were to do so, they would be transferred to the Ile Perseverance Hospital for treatment,” Gedeon said.
The 59 seafarers are from Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana. They were tested in Senegal and Ivory Coast and their results came out negative, thus enabling them to get the COVID-19 free certificate which is a requirement for entry into the Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Gedeon said that the Department of Health is doing its best to find out what went wrong and where.
“These men were all tested at World Health Organisation accredited laboratories in the two countries. They were tested at the internationally renowned Institut Pasteur laboratories and we are collaborating with the WHO to get to the bottom of the matter,” he said.
Other than the 204 crew members on the fleet, there are nine Seychellois who work as observers from the Seychelles Fisheries Authority.
Gedeon said the Seychellois had minimal contact with the mariners who tested positive, but as a precautionary measure, they have been placed in quarantine at the Beau Vallon Bay Hotel facility.
The possibility of repatriating the crew members who tested positive is an option which health authorities in Seychelles and the agent of the shipping line are considering.
“First of all, we will have to find an airline which is prepared to take them on board. Then they will have to be accepted in those countries where they transit and even in their own country of origin, we will have to get a guarantee that they will be accepted there; before we can go for repatriation,” said the Public Health Commissioner.