Visitors to Seychelles must follow a set of regulations before their arrival and during their stay to ensure safe health during the COVID-19 pandemic, a top government official said on Tuesday.
These regulations will come into force on August 1, when Seychelles reopens its borders to scheduled passenger flights. Only visitors from low- and medium-risk countries will be allowed in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean.
A regularly updated list of these countries can be found on the website of the island nation's Ministry of Tourism.
The principal secretary for tourism, Anne Lafortune, told a press conference that low risk countries are those with a low rate of infection while medium risk have a slightly higher rate. Countries not on the list are considered high risk and visitors from these places will not be allowed to travel to Seychelles.
“Visitors coming from a low-risk country will have to do a PCR test, the result of which must be negative. As a lot of people are telling us that these tests are expensive or hard to obtain, a rapid antigen test can be done as well,” said Lafortune.
For people coming from medium-risk countries, only a negative PCR test will be accepted. Lafortune explained that these tests, along with a form containing details about the accommodation and flight, will have to be sent to the Department of Health before the visitors' departure. All tests must be done at least 72 hours before a traveller leaves their country.
The negative test result will need to be produced at check-in upon departure to Seychelles. Visitors must also have a valid travel insurance with full medical coverage for the duration of their entire stay in the island nation.
Upon arrival in the country, a mask will have to be worn before disembarking the aircraft and at the airport.
“They will have to have their temperature checked and fill out some forms, not forgetting to practice social distancing and good hygiene. Sanitizers are available. If any of the passengers have any COVID-19 symptoms, further health checks will be carried out in a designated area. Their voucher displaying their duration of stay will need to be submitted to immigration,” said Lafortune.
She added that visitors will be able to make their bookings only with establishments and liveaboards – yachts - that have been certified as safe to receive guests as per the health guidelines. Should a booking be made in an uncertified accommodation, tourists will be redirected to one that has been given the green light to receive tourists.
From the airport, visitors will be allowed to use services and businesses that have also been certified, a list of which can be found on the ministry’s website. Public buses will be off limit to any visitors.
Lafortune explained that as public transport is already an issue for locals with the enforcement of social distancing, tourists will have to make use of other alternatives such as rentals and taxis.