Seychelles upgrades COVID-19 precautions for travellers amid global spike in cases
(Seychelles News Agency) - All travellers coming to Seychelles will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test on the sixth day after their arrival as part of reinforced measures in response to the acceleration of the outbreak in several parts of the world.
Jude Gedeon, the Public Health Commissioner, told a press conference on Thursday that this decision was taken in a review done by a task force which oversees all issues relating to the re-opening of the destination during this period dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cost of the test, which will be done on both foreigners and Seychellois citizens travelling to Seychelles, will be covered by the government.
Before Thursday's announcement, only visitors from the Category 2 countries were required to take a PCR test after their fifth day in the country. Meanwhile, the list of Category 2 countries has been revised effective from November 16 and it includes France, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, UAE and Italy.
"We are very concerned because a lot of our visitors come from these countries and this is why we've had to reclassify certain countries which are our main tourism market from Category 1 to Category 2," said Gedeon.
He added that visitors from these countries can still come to Seychelles but "they have to do a PCR test 48 hours or less before arrival and they have to book in Category 2 establishments. After five days a PCR test will be done and if it is negative they can continue their stay in the same place under certain conditions or move to a Category 1 establishment."
If a visitor is found to be positive for COVID-19, the health team will be on-site to guide the management on measures to be applied.
The task force has also put in place stricter measures for establishments hosting weddings and for other wedding service providers including the civil status personnel officiating, beauty and hairdressing service suppliers.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, currently has three active cases and 150 people in quarantine, which is the highest number in the quarantine facility so far. The majority, 137 people, are at the Berjaya facility and 13 are at the coastguard facility.
Gedeon said the vaccine announced by drugmaker Pfizer seems to be promising.
"It is said that it is 90 percent effective which means that if it is given to 100 persons around 90 percent of them will be protected. I have to say that there is no vaccine that is 100 percent effective. All those vaccines are in phase three and they are going to ask for approval with the FDA so they can start production for them to roll out at the end of the year," he said.
Gedeon pointed out that "it is important to say that even if the vaccine is available it does not mean everyone will have access to it or that it will arrive in Seychelles this year."