As Seychelles re-opens, private jets allowed back first, with strict controls
When the airport reopens for commercial flight June 1 health authorities will allow only visitors travelling on private jets and chartered flights going to other island resorts. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles' international airport will resume commercial operations next week and according to health authorities will allow only visitors travelling on private jets and chartered flights going to other island resorts.
Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon told a press conference that before visitors are allowed in the country the establishments where they will be staying have to satisfy criteria and guidelines put in place by the health and tourism department.
"The visitors will not be allowed to leave their resorts. Furthermore, it will be necessary for them to do a COVID test 48 hours before taking a flight to Seychelles. There would be a rapid test system in place at the airport as well that would allow the visitors to be tested again before commuting to their resorts. The commuting to their resorts will also be in a controlled manner," he said.
Most commercial flights are not expected to resume until July or August.
He added that the health authorities have "talked to hoteliers on how to prepare themselves to adjust with this new normal."
The Public Health Commissioner stressed that any Seychellois coming from a place where there is still active transmission would be advised to wait a little bit longer for things to get better in their country before travelling.
Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is free of COVID-19 as all 11 patients who once tested positive have fully recovered.
"We have conducted a lot of tests on people including the health workers and we have not detected any new positive cases. All 11 patients who were infected with the virus have been cured and have all gone home," he said.
However, there are still 90 people in quarantine and the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange, said that out of this 80 are at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay quarantine centre.
"The remaining 10 are at the isolation centre at Ile Perseverance. The reason for this is that those are patients who have had an operation and cannot use the stairs," said Louange.
Louange said that all Seychellois patients who were on overseas treatment and stranded in India and Sri Lanka, were flown home on Saturday. Tests conducted on them have been negative but the patients are being quarantined for 14 days.
Meanwhile, as part of prevention efforts at the airport, the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) has installed cameras that take one second to detect high temperatures at one metre away.
Two have already been installed inside the international arrival lounge, one is to be placed at the transit lounge and another will be mounted inside the VIP lounge.
The authority's chief executive, Garry Albert, said that the purchase of such vital equipment is part of the airport's strategy in line with the public health guidelines to maintain high alert at all times during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Albert said that "remaining vigilant at the most popular and critical gateway in our country has always been vital, as we cannot compromise the safety of the travelling public, and the health of our nation."