Six Seychellois citizens who work with one of the ground agents of the Spanish fishing fleet operating in the Seychelles’ waters have tested positive for COVID-19, said the Public Health Commissioner on Wednesday.
Jude Gedeon told a press conference that as part of the procedures in place, the Department of Health performed PCR tests on people who had been in contact with the seafarers who previously had tested positive.
“During these tests so far we have picked up six people who had tested positive and retesting have been done last night and they were confirmed to be true positive cases. Since the first test was done they were admitted in the isolation facility. They remain without any symptoms but are being kept under observation and monitoring,” said Gedeon.
The six men are truck drivers and handymen who handle ground transportation, and Gedeon said that according to the information received the six men had no contact with the seafarers or the vessels.
While it is not yet clear exactly how the six Seychellois caught the virus, Gedeon said that theirs are local cases, as it is possible to identify the source of their infection. However, these could spread into the community and it is for this reason that contact tracing is being done.
He said that the close contacts of the six Seychellois are being contacted and they will be placed in quarantine.
“Those who are in the second and third line of contacts are also being followed and if there is the necessity they will also be taken into quarantine if there is space if not they will be placed under strict home quarantine,” he added.
Meanwhile as one of the Seychellois had contact with an employee of the Absa Bank Seychelles, the bank has confirmed that a member of its staff has been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case.
In a press communique on Wednesday, Absa Bank said that together with the Department of Health it “has taken steps to ensure the safety of all colleagues, customers and their families by immediately facilitating the testing of the potentially affected colleague, and ensuring that fellow team members self-quarantine pending the outcome of the test results as a precautionary measure.”
The health department has said that unlike the first wave of COVID-19 infection in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, this time around, it will not be rushing to implement restrictions on movement and other activities.
Gedeon said that this is because the department has made a lot of preparations and staff are better trained and equipped.
“All the sectors and partners have guidelines which they have been implementing to contain the spread of a second wave. So now it is the time to see how effectively they have been implementing these guidelines and measures. We will not rush ahead to close this, shut down the other. We will handle the matter in a less rushed manner, taking it softly, while monitoring the situation on the ground.”
He added that however if necessary measures implemented and practised are not sufficient to break the virus’ transmission chain “then we will have to move to the next phase which is to more actively restrict the population’s movement, by closing down certain services which are not essential to our daily lives.”