Covid-19 update |17 December 2021
‘Stay at home to prevent spread of Covid-19,’ says Dr Gedeon
With the festive season fast approaching, Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gedeon, has placed emphasis on the need to exercise precaution in regards to basic health measures and to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
He made the statement yesterday afternoon during the last Covid-19 press update for the year organised by the Ministry of Health at the Sheikh Khalifa diagnostic centre. Also present was Dr Danny Louange, chief executive of the Health Care Agency.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of movements and we are not encouraging people to mix between households because this will encourage the virus to spread. We have seen what has happened in many countries that have let go of their basic preventive measures. So, hands, face and space, are the three basic key words that you should be, maybe, repeating to everyone around you. Because these are key preventive measures, apart from taking the vaccine that would prevent and break the chain of transmission,” said Dr Gedeon who emphasised on staying in the bubble by limiting the number of people in the house among others.
With the world experiencing the new wave of the Omicron variant not yet detected on our soil, Dr Gedeon stated that we presently have 342 active Covid-19 cases distributed on our three main islands, with 33 active cases on Praslin, three on La Digue and the rest on Mahé. Among those affected, 27 are gainful occupation permit (GOP) holders and 8 are visitors.
With the seven-day rolling average increasing from 28 on December 8, 2021 to 34, Dr Gedeon has said “this is a concern for us as it just shows that we cannot, as yet, relax too many of the measures”.
Dr Gedeon also noted that as of November 1, 2021, there were only 156 active Covid-19 cases in the country.
Altogether, 131 people have died from the virus among whom 101 were not vaccinated or fully covered. Four deaths were registered in December. The death occurrence was in the 71 to 80-year-old bracket and most of the casualties had chronic diseases. Nonetheless, 26 young people (mostly males) have also died of the virus so far.
The Ministry of Health has also registered a slight drop in the number of active cases among youngsters in the under-18 year old bracket, especially during the school holidays as opposed to before the holidays, but however in the two-year-olds and younger, the number of active cases is still significant.
Persévérance (7), Baie St Anne Praslin (6), Grand Anse Mahé (5) and Anse Royale (5) are the districts with the most child active cases(under 18 years old). There are no child active cases on La Digue.
Dr Gedeon said the old stock of Pfizer vaccine is finished and the country will be receiving 40,000 doses by the end of this week. He added that an announcement will be made soon on how the vaccination programme for that batch will be rolled out for priority groups, especially those who have not been vaccinated at all and those who have not received a third dose.
Updating on the vaccination roll-out, Dr Gedeon stated that 78,235 people out of a total of 99,202, have taken the complete dose of all vaccines ‒ Sinopharm (42,000), Covishield (30,000), Sputnik (500), Pfizer (1,094) ‒ while the rest including those who have not been vaccinated at all, have taken one dose among the vaccine brands. 20,685 people (over 18 years old) have already taken the third booster dose of Pfizer vaccine and 2,085 have taken the third booster dose of Sinopharm.
For children aged 12 to 17 years old, out of 8,235 on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, 62% have already been vaccinated. Another 444 have not completed the full dose and they are being encouraged to do so with the arrival of the second batch of the Pfizer vaccine.
With regard to re-infection cases, 50 people have been re-infected with the virus from November 2021 to date and 328 people had been re-infected since February 3, 2021. There were 128 re-infections from April to June 2021 and 153 re-infections between July and October 2021.
Speaking on the Omicron virus, Dr Gedeon said as of yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had registered 77 countries, excluding Seychelles, with cases of the virus. He stated that as the virus spreads rapidly, it is expected to reach other countries in the coming weeks, adding that although the virus is not severe, people can succumb to it in case of a surge in infections.
“Vaccination is an essential tool in preventing severe disease and deaths, in many instances,” he added.
On the Covid-19 health services offered, Dr Louange said that with the low infection resulting in low admission, the related service also goes down. Currently there are only four Covid-19 patients in the Family Hospital (three of them have not been vaccinated) but none in the intensive care unit, while nine patients are in the new Coast Guard hospital, Ile Persévérance, with moderate Covid-19.
He stated that with the low admission of Covid-19 patients, the health services have gone back to normal and staff are being allowed to take their holidays and follow training sessions among others. He said Covid-19 services are still being offered at the different health centres.
Dr Louange called on the citizens to watch on their diet to prevent obesity as obesity and Covid-19 are not a good combination. He added that one quarter of patients who died of the virus were overweight.
He called on people to exercise and those with chronic diseases to take extra precaution to prevent contracting the virus.
He also called on those who have not taken the vaccine to come forward and take it and the 50,000 who have not taken the third dose to do so.