Control measures at the airport will be reinforced and travel advisories will be issued on which countries people can travel to and from when Seychelles' international airport reopens for commercial flights on June 1, a health official said Tuesday.
The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a news conference how Seychelles will gradually lift restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- and that he doesn't expect tourism to immediately resume.
The airport's reopening "does not mean the airport will be opened for anyone who wants to fly in or out," said Gedeon.
He explained that commercial activities are not only tourism related but also include cargo, technical stops, transits, private transfers, people who are coming in to replace crews on a vessel.
"We are thinking that with the current situation, we will not see tourism relaunched in a fast manner in June. We are looking at maybe July or August. This is why the opening of commercial operations of the airport does not necessarily mean there will be a lot of movement of people. Control measures that were put in place will be reinforced," said Gedeon.
Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) holders who are outside the country have not yet been given permission to come back to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and no new permits are being processed.
During the month of May, the Department of Health will observe global developments on COVID-19. Depending on how the situation unfolds, travel restrictions to certain countries will be lifted or the reopening date of the airport will be pushed to a later date.
On the local scene as of Monday, May 4, should the situation remain under control, all restrictions on the movement of people in Seychelles will be lifted.
Principal Secretaries, chief executives and heads of organisations will all be issued with a guideline outlining how workplaces are to adapt to the new reality. Depending on the number of employees, a workplace must have a health and safety officer or designate a person to take up the role. Free training will be provided.
"Monday will mark a new milestone, a new stage of the new reality that we are living. The checklist is based on three main principles. Workplaces should be vigilant to detect someone who might have symptoms of COVID-19, must be able to practice social distancing and good hygiene," explained Gedeon.
He added that "it is important to understand as well that if we get any new case, we will need to relook at and revise the new steps" that have recently been announced.