Seychelles finalising new guidelines for easing of COVID restrictions on Monday

The Seychelles' health authorities are finalising new guidelines defining how organisations and businesses will operate while respecting COVID preventing measures when restrictions ease next week, said a top health official on Thursday.

Removing restrictions on the movement of people and reopening of businesses will not mean that life in Seychelles will go back to what it was before the arrival of COVID-19, the Public Health Commissioner told a press conference.

Gedeon said that Monday, May 4 will mark a new milestone and a new stage in the Seychelles' response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If by 8 p.m. on Sunday we have not picked up any new cases we'll make a public announcement and that our plan to remove some of the restrictions as was announced will come into effect. This does not mean that Monday morning everything goes back to how it was before," he said.

Gedeon said the new plans and guideline will focus on the three pillars of prevention: vigilance, physical distancing and hygiene.

"There will be monitoring and those who do not comply with the guidelines will maybe have to close down," he added.

Additionally, a table will also be released outlining which activities will resume in May, June and onwards.

Gedeon said that two people infected with COVID-19 have now tested negative and have been transferred to quarantine.

On his side, the chief executive of the Health Care Authority, Danny Louange, said that preparation and planning are still ongoing in the event that Seychelles gets new cases of the virus.

"It will depend on what kind of cases we get, whether it a community transmission, local transmission or imported case," said Louange.

Meanwhile, local organisations continue to provide assistance to the health authorities in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Airtel Seychelles, a telecommunication company, donated SCR1,000,000 ($62,000) to the Health Department on Thursday.

He added that "immediately after the first outbreak in Seychelles the company have been providing help to the Health Department. One of them has been free Wi-Fi."   The managing director of the company, Amadou Dina, told SNA that: "We are not specialist in the medical field and rather than buying the equipment ourselves, we gave the funds to the Health Department to do so themselves."

The Members of the National Assembly from the opposition coalition, Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) also made a donation of SCR 60,000 ($3,700) towards the Nurses Association od Seychelles (NARS).

The donation represents a 10 percent pay cut agreed by the members in March.

LDS said the Nurses Association of Seychelles was chosen "because it's the nurses who have been on the frontline to fight the COVID-19 health crisis."