Seychelles to tighten COVID-19 rules during holidays to prevent spike in case numbers

Seychelles is clamping down on irresponsible behaviour as the festive season approaches amid an increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases, although the latest variant — Omicron — has not yet been detected in the island nation.
The announcement was made on Monday after a meeting of the Platinum Committee of the national COVID response chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan.
“The country cannot afford another surge and other crippling effects on our economic activities. This is what will unavoidably happen if we allow the number of new COVID cases to rise. Therefore, we must take all measures necessary to prevent a new economic downturn,” said Ramkalawan.
The Committee confirmed that the Omicron variant has not been detected in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, although there is a spike in active cases.
According to the figures from the Ministry of Health last week, there are 483 active cases. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 125 COVID- related deaths in Seychelles, a country of 99,000 people.
With the increase in active cases, new measures will come into force immediately to help dent the rise.
“Persisting illegal gatherings in public car parks and around bars and cafeterias and other places of entertainment are clearly contributing to the increase in new cases,” said the Public Health Commissioner, Jude Gedeon.
Effective immediately people assembling illegally in car parks or around places of entertainment will be now be spot-fined by the police. In addition, places of entertainment that do not follow COVID Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be closed down.
As shopping sprees are expected to increase with the approach of Christmas, the Committee said that grocery stores will now close at 8 pm from December 1 instead of 7 pm as it is today. Closer to Christmas grocery stores will close at 9 pm to prevent congestions.
The Committee reiterated the need for the public to follow all the public health measures and not to be complacent.
The public is also being urged to get a booster dose now that a new consignment of 40,000 doses of the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine is expected in the country in December.
Meanwhile, visitors from seven southern African countries — South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe are not permitted to enter Seychelles until further notice under new travel measures announced by the local health authorities on Friday.

Source: Seychelles News Agency