Seychelles lifts COVID restrictions on nightclubs and outdoor mass gatherings
With the revisions, nightclubs can now operate as per the conditions of their licences. (Steve Nibourette Photography)
The Seychelles' health authorities have removed with immediate effect the remaining restrictions on nightclubs and mass gatherings in a revision of the measures put in place to curb the increase of COVID-19.
The Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, made the announcement in a press interview on Thursday.
Gedeon said that the restrictions are being removed as there is no major insurgence of positive cases.
"We have not seen a large increase in cases after the National Day celebrations. This is very good news and even better news is that we have not seen an increase in admissions," said Gedeon.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean has currently 263 active COVID-19 cases and has recorded 67 COVID-related deaths.
Gedeon said that there are no patients admitted in hospitals with the virus and that "the seven-day rolling average has more or less oscillated between 20 and 25 over the last couple of weeks."
With the revisions, nightclubs can now operate as per the conditions of their licences and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for their venues.
All restrictions have been removed on outdoor gatherings while for indoor gatherings including funerals and other religious ceremonies, they will use their venues' SOPs.
However, he said that mandatory wearing of masks will remain for public transportation such as buses, taxis and airplanes.
Since its last announcement, people in Seychelles were not required to wear masks in open places but the public is advised to remain vigilant.
Gedeon said that there is still concern because the rate of re-infection is steadily increasing this year from 5 percent in January to over 20 percent to date.
Other concerns are the emergence of more virulent new variants and sub-variants leading to more serious illness and the decreasing vaccination uptake and this will affect community immunity.
As of July 9, 80,926 people have taken two doses of COVID-19 vaccines amounting to 82 percent of the Seychelles' population of 99,258. Only 40,288 which is 41 percent of the total population have taken a third booster shot and 3,074 a fourth booster.
Gedeon and the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange are appealing to the population to avail themselves of the COVID-19 vaccines, as they currently have more in stock than people are using.
As part of the relaxation of restrictions, the Health Care Agency has revised its hospital visitor's policy based on its analysis of the situation.
"We are now allowing visitors on the general wards, two visitors per patient per day," said the chief executive, Dr Danny Louange.
Meanwhile, Seychelles remains under a public health emergency status until the World Health Organisation declares that COVID-19 is no longer of international health concern.