Overview and situation analysis
As of 6th April 2020, globally, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has exceeded 1.2 million people in over 200 countries, territories and areas and over 70,000 deaths have occurred. Italy is still the country with the most deaths, followed by Spain, USA, France and United Kingdom. Transmission continues to vary from one place to another, and is highly influenced by response measures adopted by each country.
Community transmission is now occurring to different degrees on all continents, and evident in our region in Réunion and Mauritius. Containment remains a major challenge worldwide and countries are gradually implementing stricter measures.
We need to continue focusing our resources on dealing with the current situation locally and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on our citizens.
After reporting its first case on 14th March 2020, Seychelles registered its 11th case of COVID-19 on the 6th April 2020. This is the first case that, as yet, has no known link with another case or is not someone who has travelled in the last 14 days. Given that the person works at the airport, his occupation puts him in direct contact with people who may have travelled to places with active transmission. He may have therefore contracted it from a traveler. Given that he has moved in the community before and when he developed symptoms, it is likely that his contacts, especially close ones, may have been infected. The possibility of community transmission has increased.
Therefore, the following measures are being implemented with immediate effect:
• Tracing of all contacts starting from the close ones and admitting them in a quarantine facility where they will be monitored for 14 days.
• Isolation and active investigation of any contact who is showing COVID-19 symptoms or signs.
• Further movement restrictions of the public in general.
In order to allow efficient contact tracing and to break the chain of transmission, it is important that people limit their movements, and avoid leaving their homes and getting into contact with others.
In exercise of the powers conferred by regulation 7, 7C, 8, 9 and 13A of the Public Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations (S.I. 8 of 1960), the Public Health Commissioner hereby order that for a period of twenty-one (21) days starting from 12.00 PM (Midnight) of 8th April, 2020 and up to 12.00 PM (Midnight) of 29th April, 2020, subject to the exceptions and restrictions set out hereunder:
1) That all persons in Seychelles, except as exempted or specified hereunder, are hereby restricted from outdoor movement;
2) Only employees of essential services will be required to go to work. Employees who are not in essential services must stay at home. A list of all essential services will be published and may be subject to change from time to time;
3) All shops except those that sell food items and groceries and pharmaceutical products will remain closed;
4) All restaurants and take-away food outlets will remain closed. These may, however, prepare meals on order and offer bulk delivery services;
5) Banks may remain open but must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding. Electronic banking is encouraged;
6) Only employees of essential services will be required to go to work; employees who are not in essential services must stay at home;
7) All persons must remain at home apart from the periods required to access necessary food supplies and essential services. Physical distancing must be practiced during these times;
8) People from different homes should not meet for any formal or informal activities;
9) Public bus services will be reduced to the level necessary to provide transportation of staff in essential services and members of the public who require immediate access to essential services. Physical distancing must be observed at all times in public transportation;
10) The restriction of movement also applies to construction worker. Except for those doing work on essential Government infrastructure, all construction companies must cease work and employees will remain in their living quarters. Written permission must be obtained from the Commissioner of police for all exemption. Companies must ensure that their employees exercise social and physical distancing at all times;
11) No transport carrying construction workers will be permitted on the road except for those with special permission, who must ensure adequate social distancing during transportation;
12) Travel and movement between the islands is restricted to carrying out essential services and transportation of staff in essential services; and
13) Boat and pleasure craft excursions and activities are not permitted.
Further emphasis must be placed on social distancing, good and consistent hand hygiene, and ample respiratory hygiene to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19.
The Department of Health wishes to thank all partners, stakeholders and the public in general for their support and understanding.