More than half of seafarers once COVID-positive in Seychelles now test negative

Most of the seafarers on a Spanish fishing fleet who tested positive for COVID-19 in Seychelles have recovered and gone back to work, a top health official said on Tuesday.

The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference that 58 out of the 97 people who had COVID-19 have now recovered.

The 39 remaining positive cases are still in quarantine on six vessels in the demarcated zone.

As for the six Seychellois who tested positive, Gedeon said, "I am pleased to say that they had first negative tests last night. We will do another test (today) and if the results are still negative they will be discharged."

He added that tests done on the close contacts of the six Seychellois are all negative and that most of them have been tested.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, on Tuesday had 45 active cases -- 39 seafarers and six Seychellois.

Gedeon said that it is important to note that so far Seychelles has no community transmission and that "what we are seeing is call cluster or sporadic cases like the seafarers."

Furthermore, no health workers have tested positive for the virus which Gedeon said means that "we are doing well in terms of disease prevention and taking preventive measures."

Seychelles still has 52 people in quarantine, some at Beau Vallon Bay and others at the south east island facility.

"Most of them are from the repatriation flight and this week they will be released after we have done the procedures in place," said Danny Louange, chief executive of the Health Care Agency.

With the opening of the airport for commercial passenger flights on Aug. 1, the Public Health Commissioner indicated that perhaps the wearing of masks should be mandatory by law.

"In other countries, authorities are having a problem controlling the outbreak," Gedeon said. "It's a sacrifice we must make to protect our health."