What to do with a COVID-positive tourist? Seychelles' answer: Holiday-quality isolation
How best to deal with a tourist who tests positive for COVID-19 while on holiday in Seychelles was the focus of a discussion held by relevant authorities on Tuesday.
This discussion, chaired by President Danny Faure, took place in a review meeting focused on tourism and the re-opening of the airport on Aug. 1. Representatives from the health, tourism and finance ministries as well as the private sector also attended.
The principal secretary of tourism, Anne Lafortune, told reporters that "the reality is that once a person becomes positive, they need to be isolated. The question stands, are they going to be isolated in the hotel they are in or do we isolate the person in another facility outside the hotel but in a place with comfort."
She said that the decision taken was that it is preferable for a tourist who tests positive to be placed in a separate facility.
"This facility will need to be equal to a hotel as these people are here on a holiday and they need a facility that is comfortable so as not to totally ruin their vacation," said Lafortune.
"We want to give a guarantee to a tourist that when they come, should they test positive during their stay, but is not having any symptoms, the person can continue with their holiday, but they will not be able to mingle with the other people due to risks of transmitting the virus," she added.
Sybille Cardon, the chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), added that having such a facility "will be a strong marketing point for Seychelles."
"We need to realise that all clients coming to Seychelles have the potential of being infected. They will know that should they test positive in Seychelles, they will still get to spend their holiday and not get stuck in a room which will spoil their stay - they will be able to use the facilities of the establishment," said Cardon.
It was outlined that this will not be a free service and that the facility will be used by asymptomatic persons only. Should a tourist have symptoms, they will be sent to the Isolation Centre at the Family Hospital at Ile Perseverance.
Lafortune said that a committee has been set up to discuss criteria that the establishment will need to meet to be able to discharge this service. Following this exercise, an Expression of Interest will be issued, inviting interested tourism establishments to apply.
Though the country does not expect to see a large number of tourists arriving in the country as of Aug. 1, Lafortune said that all precautions need to be taken to ensure the virus is not spread within the community should a visitor be infected.
She stressed that social distancing, the wearing of mask in places where social distancing cannot be practised, and good hygiene should be practised properly by all in the community.