Restrictions return: COVID infections rise in Seychelles, forcing schools to close, ban on sports, groups
All educational institutions in Seychelles closed on Tuesday for three weeks as the health authority re-introduced societal restrictions to curb an increase in COVID-19 transmissions.
While state and some private schools are currently on holiday, other private schools and post secondary institutions had been open and now must close. Daycare and childminding services will remain open for now.
The re-introduced restrictions include earlier closure of shops, bars and casinos, a ban on commemoration gatherings, shows, group sporting activities and conferences. Non-essential workers who can are also being encouraged to work from home. The 11 pm curfew will remain in force.
Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon announced the new measures in a press conference on Tuesday following a meeting of the COVID-19 Platinum Committee on Monday.
Since the last update from the Ministry of Health, 497 new COVID-19 cases were recorded over a period of three days. These are samples collected on April 29 and 30, and May 1. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 6,373. More than 5,000 people — 5,277 — have recovered from the virus and 28 deaths were recorded.
There are currently 1,068 active cases numbers, among which 84 percent are Seychellois and 16 percent are foreigners. Some 65 percent of the active cases are unvaccinated or have received only one dose, whilst the remaining have taken both doses.
“These are an upward trend. We do not know how long it will last but this will depend on what measures are taken and how the new measures are respected,” explained Gedeon.
The new measures taken during the Platinum Committee meeting chaired by the head of state – President Wavel Ramkalawan – will be reviewed closer to May 24 and depending on the situation from now till then will be lifted or maintained.
The Minister of Health who was also at the press conference said that the increase in daily infections is leading to an increase in hospital admissions. As result, the Family Hospital at Perseverance – the main COVID-19 treatment centre – is running at its capacity.
“This means the amount of bed we have to need to expand. It is for this reason that we are looking at another possibility for patients at the Anse Royale Hospital. Obviously when we have a pandemic like this, and we have seen the number of health workers infected, there will always be workers who are off because they have got the virus or is a contact, so this is always a pressure on human resources,” explained Peggy Vidot.
Vidot added, “For the time we are assuring the public that with our current capacity we can continue our services.” The minister said that as the evolution of the pandemic is unknown the ministry will remain focus on how to adapt, redeploy and cope with the virus and continue to deliver the service.
The health professionals are calling for the population’s support and corporation, as wearing masks, sanitization, physical distancing and abiding by the restrictions in force will help to stop the community transmissions.
To date over 59,600 persons have received both doses of vaccines, representing 85 percent of the targeted population.