Friday 3rd April 2020 – Following a press conference held on Thursday 2nd April 2020 whereby the Department of Health discussed the recent death of a mariner while at sea, a news item was generated presenting misleading information to members of the public.
The news segment was conducted based on a report received by the media. Upon receipt of the referenced report by management of the Health Care Agency and Public Health Authority, several discrepancies that require internal follow up were identified.
Notably, that the report distributed under the letterhead of the Health Care Agency was not completed by an employee of the agency and there was confusion on behalf of the officer in translation of some terms used in the report. This includes the incorrect use of the word wheelbarrow to refer to a stretcher. Additionally, some observations made were not supported by appropriate investigations.
However, during the aforementioned live press conference clarifications were provided to the journalists on the death of the mariner, with confirmation and emphasis that the death was not due to COVID-19. Appropriate postmortem procedures followed in this situation were also highlighted to the media.
Investigations into the death highlighted that the last date of docking for the fishing vessel on which the mariner worked was August 2019 in Singapore. After this, no contact was made with land by the vessel or the crew.
The Department of Health is satisfied that there was no public health risk as the crew were at sea for more than 6 months and there were no sick crew on the vessel.
Under new guidelines issued by the Public Health Authority, no COVID-19 screening tests is needed for persons placed under home quarantine during or upon completion of the quarantine period. Testing may be recommended for persons who develop symptoms of the infection. All persons placed under home quarantine who develop symptoms are advised to visit the special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre. The home quarantine period should be completed for 14 days, from arrival in Seychelles or last contact with a positive case of COVID-19. A certificate of quarantine will be presented at the end of the quarantine period.
Anyone with symptoms related to COVID-19 are asked to report to special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre between 8am-12pm and 1pm-2pm. People who use these health centres for regular consultations, should go to their regional centres.