The health authorities and the foreign affairs department are working to repatriate almost 250 Seychellois stranded overseas, the public health commissioner said on Tuesday.
Jude Gedeon told a press conference that Seychellois stranded overseas and students who have completed their studies are located in 29 countries.
"The main ones are England, Malaysia, India and France. This does not include students who are still studying. We are talking about students who have completed their studies and need to come back to Seychelles," said Gedeon.
He added that students who are still studying are not considered as stranded.
"We are working with the Department of Foreign Affairs to plan and to ensure that people will be able to come back safely, in an orderly manner so as not to place them at more risk than they are currently in, nor place the general population at risk. This demands coordination between all agencies and airlines," said the commissioner.
Two repatriations have been carried out so far, one for Seychellois patients who were in India and Sri Lanka, and the other from Dubai. Gedeon explained that the repatriations that have taken place so far are going from point A to point B, into countries that Air Seychelles, the country's national airline, can reach.
He added that the top countries in which Seychellois are stranded "are further off and it might involve other airlines and transit points."
"For the month of June, we said it would be countries of low risk that a person can fly to a transit point to board Air Seychelles. But other countries that are higher risk, we asked that they wait until the country becomes a low risk," explained Gedeon.
"We have reached a stage where we need to look at other countries that are further away to make sure that these people do the necessary tests and through our diplomatic missions, they can be brought back to Seychelles. We are trying to do this as soon as possible," continued Gedeon.
Only Seychellois citizens, persons married to a Seychellois and diplomats who can board a repatriation flight for Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, facilitated by the foreign affairs department.