Public gatherings in Seychelles are prohibited under new measures put in place Wednesday to help bring a COVID-19 outbreak under control, said a top health official.
The measures, in place until midnight on January 13, also mean that families can only hold gatherings at home and with members of their households, including holiday parties.
The public gatherings are banned both indoors and outdoors.
Seychelles is experiencing community transmission and has 44 active cases with one, a 59-year-old male, in critical condition at the Perseverance isolation centre.
The island nation has a total of 256 cases with no deaths recorded to date.
The 44 active cases include 22 Seychellois among which two are minors and one is a healthcare worker.
“This is a cluster and the transmission happened in the community and since the person circulated a bit there is a strong possibility that he has infected others in the community that we don’t know,” Dr. Jude Gedeon, the Public Health Commissioner told a press conference.
“It is also possible that he contracted the virus with another person in the community and unfortunately he developed very severe symptoms and we are very concerned and we are working very hard to ensure that he can recover,” he added.
He said that the measures will be revised depending on the local situation.
Dr. Danny Louange, the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, said that since 28 healthcare workers are among the 69 contacts who are now in quarantine, three fever stations are being set up.
“Three places are now going to be used for people who have fever and respiratory symptoms to go to as of Wednesday afternoon. One is central located at the Mont Fleuri/Corgat Estate health centre. One in the south at the Baie Lazare health centre and another in the north at the Glacis health centre,” said Louange.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected Seychelles’ tourism industry, the top economic contributor of the island nation, and Gedeon said that a complete lockdown will not in the country’s best interest.
“We are seeing what is happening with our exchange rate and what is happening to our economy. There was an enormous effort to boost our economy but that came with a number of risks. We will meet with other partners on the multi-sectoral taskforce on January 7 to re-discuss the tourism strategy in the country,” said Gedeon.