A task force set up to deal with COVID-19 in Seychelles is discussing a new strategy in response to the increasing cases in the island nation's main tourism markets in Europe, said a top health official.
The Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon, told a press conference on Thursday that "the outbreak is expanding in most of our main tourism markets and in most of these countries there are lockdowns or very restrictive measures. Locally we are looking at the measures we need to take, in term of filtering and preventing the introduction of new cases from entering Seychelles."
Gedeon gave an overview of the global situation and said that the outbreak "has been expanding in many parts of the world. It's approaching 50 million confirmed cases and the mortality rate is 3 percent as over 1.2 million people have died.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seychelles' economy which depends largely on tourism has been hard-hit amid a global travel downturn, although the island nation has seen no deaths from the virus.
Seychelles closed its airport to commercial international flights in late March due to the outbreak and reopened it to commercial passenger flights on August 1.
The archipelago in the western Indian Ocean has recorded 158 COVID-19 cases, out of which three are still active. Gedeon said that the three active cases are all on island resorts and that "they are asymptomatic and are being isolated in their rooms."
He added that newly elected President Wavel Ramkalawan and Vice President Ahmed Afif were briefed on everything that is being done on COVID-19 during their visits to the Health Ministry on Thursday.
Gedeon said the President agreed to the continuity of response and has committed the support of the government for resource mobilisation and community engagements.
The Public Health Commissioner said that going forward it is important for people "to have more respect for public health rules for prevention. This is not only for the community but for our leaders. They must speak the same language for people to understand."
He added that "if we can maintain the situation until a vaccine is available where we can vaccinate everyone although we don't know how many months that will take, then this will be an achievement."