Around 80 percent of people in Seychelles recently infected with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, a top official said on Saturday.
Though infections have risen recently, thanks to the island nation's vaccination programme which was rolled out in January, people are not seriously ill and the health system is not under pressure Sylvestre Radegonde, the minister for foreign affairs and tourism said.
Radegonde told SNA that for now, the situation is manageable. COVID-19 patients are being treated in two hospitals - the Perseverance Family Hospital and the Anse Royale Hospital, he said.
The minister explained that patients infected with the virus are stable with mild symptoms. Out of the around 40 who are hospitalised, only two are in critical conditions and are currently in the Intensive Care Unit.
Radegonde said that the majority of people who are infected are Seychellois. As they have been vaccinated they are showing few symptoms and are stable. "This shows that the vaccination has had its effect," added Radegonde.
He added that the number of infections for the past week is fluctuating and an increase in the number of detected cases is a result of more tests being done and an increase in contact tracing.
However, the minister said the current situation is worrying. Radegonde added that the number of new cases shows that with the vaccination programme people are letting their guards down.
"Seychellois because they are vaccinated now are relaxing and think that all is ok. We are letting our guard down, we are not as careful as before," explained the minister.
Since the last update from the Ministry of Health, 497 new cases were recorded for three days. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 6,373.
More than 5,000 people -- 5,277 -- have recovered from the virus and 28 deaths have been recorded. None of those who died from the virus had been vaccinated.
There are currently 1,068 active cases, among which 84 percent are Seychellois and 16 percent are foreigners.
Radegonde said that with the restrictions reintroduced earlier this week, he expects the situation to be put under control and with the population abiding by health regulations, life on the island can go back to near normal.
The minister said that the restrictions are geared towards the local population and that visitors are welcome to the islands for their holidays.
"Tourists can always come, with a negative PCR test they are welcome. They can move freely on the islands without any problem," he explained.
Radegonde admitted that there were some.challenges with administering PCR tests and getting the results for outbound visitors, but with the opening of a new private clinic offering this service, this should now go on smoothly with visitors not having to rely solely on the Ministry of Health for tests and results.
The minister is calling on Seychellois and visitors to take precautions, abide by regulations of hand sanitizing, wearing masks and maintain physical distancing.
Just over 60,400 people in Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - have to date taken doses of either Sinopharm or Covidshield which the island nation is administering to its adult population. This represents 86 percent of the targeted population of 70,000.
The vaccination campaign on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue started on January 10, and is also targeting foreigners who are currently working on the islands.