President of Seychelles reassures nation COVID-19 situation is under control despite cluster outbreaks
Ramkalawan made the national address on Thursday. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - President Wavel Ramkalawan reassured the nation on Thursday that the COVID-19 situation in Seychelles is under control despite the latest spike in the number of cases, a week before the country reopens for all visitors except those from South Africa.
The health authorities registered two COVID-19 clusters earlier this week, one at the Home for the Elderly at North East Point and the other among foreign seafarers on board four vessels fishing in the waters of Seychelles. The island nation has now 588 active cases.
In a national address on Thursday, Ramkalawan said that while the country is shocked by the new COVID figures, "let me reassure you that the situation is under control... and the health workers are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of the patients."
Seychelles is reopening its border to all visitors except those coming directly from South Africa with the aim to relaunch its tourism industry the top pillar of its economy on March 25.
Ramkalawan said that already there is great excitement among visitors who want to come to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
"Airlines are showing good reservation rates and this shows that our tourism industry has hope to recover. It gives us a positive sign that our economy can recover slowly," he said.
He said that if there had not been the two clusters, the figures would have shown that Seychelles is succeeding in the fight against COVID-19 but that "if we let out guard down and do not take the necessary precaution the situation can deteriorate really fast."
In this regard, Ramkalawan has called on each individual to make a personal effort to protect themselves and those who take the vaccines being given to do so in order for the country to attain herd immunity.
He also talked about the COVID fund that has been set up and said that there is currently a total of SCR 78,245,813 ($3.6 million) in the account.
Ramkalawan said that the funds will be used partly to assist the Ministry of Health with certain expenses and the rest will remain in the account.
"Science has not determined how long the COVID vaccine will be effective in our body. So we have to remain in a position that if there need for us to buy more vaccines in the future, we have the funds to do so," said Ramkalawan.
As the COVID-19 situation is a dynamic one, he said it is important for people to remain vigilant at all times and keep practising all the measures of prevention.