24 seafarers with COVID-19 in Seychelles have recovered, official says
Twenty four of the 91 seafarers from the Spanish tuna fishing fleet operating in Seychelles who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered, the Public Health Commissioner said Tuesday.
Jude Gedeon said the development means recoveries have begun; last week none of the new positive cases had recovered.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, currently has 73 active cases of COVID-19 — 67 seafarers and six Seychellois.
Gedeon said that by Thursday the Department of Health is expecting to have less than 50 active cases if no new cases are detected.
He added that as seafarers test negative for COVID-19 some vessels have moved out of the quarantine zone and gone back to work. There are only six vessels remaining in the quarantine zone with the remaining positive cases.
After contact tracing of the six Seychellois who tested positive, 82 persons have been put placed in quarantine and with the remaining repatriated Seychellois in quarantine the total is now 142.
It is for this reason that a decision was taken to temporarily halt the inbound repatriation flights for Seychellois stranded abroad. The Department of Foreign Affairs announced the decision to stop the repatriation flights coming into Seychelles on Saturday but clarified that outbound flights would continue as scheduled.
"We need to ensure that we have the situation on the ground in hand before we can continue with the inbound repatriation. We don't have enough rooms to cater for more," said Danny Louange, the chief executive of the Health Care Agency.
Meanwhile, a second crew exchange of Spanish sailors is expected this week with the mariners coming in from Bilbao in Spain on board a special Air Seychelles flight.
Gedeon said that all the formalities and necessary precautions are being taken both locally and in Spain to ensure that everything is done according to safety guidelines.
The plans to re-open the country to commercial passenger flights are still on and the health department is encouraging people to wear masks in places where social distancing is not always possible.
"You never know when someone is going to come close to you so start wearing a mask as a habit," he said.