COVID-19 cases in Seychelles trending downward, health official says
The number of COVID-19 cases in Seychelles has been on a downward trend since reaching a peak in mid-February, a health official announced on Thursday.
The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference that since then “week after week we have registered a decrease in the number of cases per week.”
Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Seychelles in March last year, the island nation has recorded 3,087 cases, out of which 247 are still active. A total of 2,824 people have already recovered; 16 individuals have died from the disease.
“A further decrease has been registered for the past week and another indicator that we look at is the attack rate. This is the number of people who are infected in every 10,000 people. We have noticed that since the end of February, there has been a decrease in the attack rate. This means that the COVID-19 epidemic in Seychelles is improving in terms of the number of cases being registered weekly,” said Gedeon.
As to whether there is a variant of the virus in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, Gedeon said that the authority is encountering technical delays in its effort to send sample overseas for testing to ascertain if that is the case.
He added that knowing if a variant is present in the country will allow the relevant authorities to discuss and decide if public health measures are to be readjusted.
To send biological samples to an overseas laboratory for testing, the health ministry needs two kilos minimum of dry ice to keep the samples at the right temperature. At the moment dry ice cannot be obtained locally.
“We were supposed to get some from South Africa through a special flight. Unfortunately the flight has been cancelled. The samples will be going to Kemri (Kenya Medical Research Institute) laboratory in Kenya and we are trying to see if we can obtain some dry ice from Dubai,” said Gedeon.
Initially, the health authority wanted to send the sample to South Africa for testing, however, there is no direct flight between Seychelles and South Africa.
Gedeon added that the World Health Organistaion (WHO) is helping Seychelles with the process and all samples are packed and ready for dispatch.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign continues although the Health Care Authority is having problems at the moment to issue an internationally recognised vaccination card for travellers.
In Seychelles people who have been administered two doses of vaccine have been issued a vaccination confirmation card which is linked to the health database.
“We will later issue a card that can be used internationally. The relevant authorities are still working on this matter,” said Louange.
He added that this is also a challenge internationally, even with WHO and other health organisation and the EU, are working on an Immunization Information system or a Vaccination Information System that will allow people to present a document that is recognised by other countries.
Gedeon said the health ministry has been presented with an app that will help with contact tracing. The COVID-19 contact tracing system for Seychelles, dubbed ‘Contak’, was developed by SPACE95. It will record places a person has been through the scanning of QR codes.
The ministry will be providing more information about how the app works at a later date.