The Seychelles' Public Health Authority on Friday announced a temporary ban on foreign yachts entering the country's waters effective immediately, while the list of banned nationals was expanded to include Americans and Australians, the latest efforts in the fight to control the spread of COVID-19.
The public health commissioner, Jude Gedeon, said Seychellois residents returning home from Australia and the United States will have to go into quarantine for 14 days. Seychelles has a ban in place on visitors from Europe, China, Iran and South Korea, areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
According to Gedeon, a large group was planning to come to the islands for vacation but the local authority has not endorsed this, as he explained that the visitors coming by sea view Seychelles as a safe zone.
"We have seen that a lot of yachts, pleasure crafts are escaping here, so we are stopping this with the collaboration of the Ports Authority. We cannot have activities in our waters which we do not have control over, while we try to handle a serious situation in our country," said Gedeon. He added that these pleasure crafts will not be granted permission to remain in Seychelles.
On Friday, the island nation recorded its seventh positive case of COVID-19. The latest patient - a Seychellois - was in contact with the Ukrainian who tested positive on Wednesday. The confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Seychelles -- 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - are three Seychellois, two Dutch nationals, one Ukrainian and one Mauritian. The condition of one of the Dutch couple, a man, was described as critical and he has been put on ventilation.
In the meantime, the Health Department also announced that it is relocating its isolation centre from the Anse Royale Hospital, in the south, to the Family Hospital at Perseverance - a manmade island on the northeast coast of the main island of Mahe.
The chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange explained that the move is to deal with confirmed cases with more efficiency.
"We have seen in accordance with our plan and case management guidelines, that Anse Royale will be overwhelmed and will not be enough for us to care for our patients. So we have moved to this facility which has more resources and where we can better treat our patients who are in isolation better," said Louange.