COVID-19 pandemic - ‘Collective effort needed to stop the spread of the virus’ |14 April 2020
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community, each and every individual should play their role in respecting the new measures aimed at limiting movements by avoiding leaving their homes and getting into contact with others.
The newly set-up measures are crucial in the process of efficient contact tracing and also to break the chain of transmission, Public Health Commissioner Dr Jude Gedeon has said.
In exercise of the powers conferred by regulation 7, 7C, 8, 9 and 13A of the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations (S.I. 8 of 1960), the Public Health Commissioner ordered that for twenty-one (21) days starting from 12am (Midnight) of April 8, 2020 to 12am (Midnight) of April 29, 2020, the country will be subjected to a period restriction on movement, mass gatherings and business operations.
The new measures being implemented with immediate effect will complement those already in place, including tracing of all contacts starting from the close ones and admitting them in a quarantine facility where they will be monitored for 14 days, isolation and active investigation of any contact who is showing COVID-19 symptoms or signs.
Referring to the latest positive case, Dr Gedeon said so far they have been unable to establish how the 26-year-old ground-handling staff at the Seychelles International Airport has contracted the virus.
“The individual started displaying symptoms on Friday April 3 and today (Thursday April 9) is the sixth day. If while he was displaying symptoms, he had contact with other persons over the course of Friday (April 3), Saturday (April 4) and Sunday (April 5) before he tested positive on Monday (April 6) and they were infected, those persons will start experiencing symptoms over the weekend (April 10-12) or early (this) week, so we are on high alert. We have conducted the contact-tracing and have quarantined all persons who we think may have had contact with him and they are now in quarantine. They are yet to show symptoms so it is unlikely that they have infected others but we want to ensure that if they do experience symptoms, we have them under monitoring and can instantly transfer them to the isolation centre at Perseverance to administer treatment,” Dr Gedeon explained, noting that the authorities have also consulted video footage of the different places where the individual circulated so as to tie up all loose ends of the contact-tracing investigation.
According to Dr Gedeon, other low risk contacts of this patient have undergone rapid testing and they have all tested negative.
“So far we have been lucky. I keep saying that we have been lucky but luck is not enough; it is fortunate that we have not picked up new cases since the last case but that situation can change anytime. That is why we have to put extra emphasis on social distancing and for this to happen each and every one of us have to take this at heart. If you are in a household you do not visit other family members or neighbours and you don’t go where you don’t need to go. To the pharmacy and back, to the shop and back. Stay at home,” Dr Gedeon advised.
So far, Seychelles has recorded 11 positive cases of COVID-19 and nine of these are active cases.
Two patients have recovered from the virus.
Out of the nine active cases, one patient has mild symptoms but is deemed stable.
“Aside from their normal medications for their pre-existing conditions, the rest of the patients do not need any additional medications,” Dr Gedeon highlighted.
Eighty-five people are in quarantine at the Beau Vallon Bay facility and half of these are health officials and persons who came into contact with the last patient who tested positive for COVID-19.
Roland Duval/Laura Pillay/Elsie Pointe