No COVID-19 travel restrictions are to be re-introduced in Seychelles despite many countries reinforcing border controls as a rise in an Omicron sub-variant is being observed globally, a top health official said on Friday.
The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, said there are indications that the number of COVID-19 cases in China is on the rise again, however, not all the details are being provided.
“This is why many countries are moving to reintroduce these measures for people who come from China entering their country. In Seychelles, we have carried out a discussion on this, and the committee has decided that at the moment it is not necessary to put in place any additional restrictions towards any country including China. We will however continue to monitor the situation,” he said.
Seychelles’ vaccination rate, the way the pandemic has spread and community immunity are matters that were looked at when the committee made the decision. Almost 100 percent of the adult population has received two doses of vaccine, with the figure for children aged 12 to 17 standing at 70 percent.
“The number of COVID-19 cases detected in Seychelles has continued to go down for many weeks. We currently have a 7-day rolling average of three cases, the lowest it has ever been. We currently have 41 active cases in the country,” said Gedeon.
According to the Ministry of Health, no COVID-19 admissions have been registered in the country for months.
He outlined that despite the fact that the Omicron sub-variant – XBB1.5 – spreads faster “it does not make you any sicker than the Omicron variant, but it however seems to be more infectious.”
Vaccination of children between 5 to 11 years
On the ministry’s immunisation programme, Gedeon said that with the start of the 2023 scholar year, procedures to administer the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer to children between 5 to 11 years old will kick off. 
During the first week of the first trimester, all public and private schools will start sending out consent forms to parents of children within this age group. Vaccination will start in the second week.
“This batch of vaccine that we have received through COVAX will expire by the end of April. A child will need at least three weeks between the two doses. As such parents who want their child vaccinated with both doses, the latest date to be vaccinated with the first dose is by the first week of April,” said Gedeon.
He added that although people might say that children are not getting sick from COVID-19 but they do and they are a source of transmission of the virus.
“Research has shown that when children get vaccinated the immunity tends to last longer than in adults,” said Gedeon.

Source: Seychelles News Agency