COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered Coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. Read more about COVID-19 on World Health Organisation website.
Commonly Asked Questions about COVID-19 in Seychelles:
As of Monday 30th March 2020 there are 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Seychelles.
When someone is suspected to have the virus, i.e. they meet enough of the criteria to be considered to possibly have the virus, they are have samples taken for testing for COVID-19 and they are admitted at the Anse Royale Isolation Centre for follow up and management.
The person is kept in isolation at the Anse Royale Hospital where they receive proper treatment and care.
The test for COVID-19 is available in Seychelles. All tests for the virus are conducted in the Public Health Lab of the Seychelles Hospital by qualified health professionals according to set international standards.
The Public Health Authority has set in motion the process of contact tracing, which is the tracking of anyone who possibly came into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Through this system there is follow up and surveillance of all possible contacts.
All passengers and crew of the flight are advised that they will be contacted as part of the process of the contact tracing. Regular monitoring will be conducted by public health officers. Both passengers and crew are advised to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. In the event that you are not feeling well you are advised to call the closest health centre or the public health officer conducting follow up for advice on how to proceed.
When a Seychelles resident enters the country less than 14 days after entering the country from somewhere on the travel advisory, they are admitted into quarantine. Quarantine is mandatory for 14 days.
When a visitor arrives in Seychelles less than 14 days after travelling from a country on the travel advisory, they will not be allowed entry into the country and will be required to return to the country of departure.
Isolation is where people who are suspected to have an infectious disease and are presenting with symptoms or those who are confirmed cases of an infectious diseases are admitted. People are admitted in Isolation for treatment and medical care. The Isolation Centre is at the Anse Royale Hospital.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to an infectious disease to see if they become sick, that is present with any symptoms of a suspect infectious disease. The Quarantine facility is located at the Military Academy in Perseverance.
The isolation centre can accommodate up to 10 patients. There is also the availability of two ventilators in the event that there are severe cases. In the event that more cases that this capacity is recorded, provisions are made for the Family Hospital to also be converted into an Isolation Centre. This facility has 4 ventilators available.
Quarantine restricts the movement and interaction people who are suspected to have come into contact with an infectious disease. Anyone admitted in quarantine are confined to separate quarters for 14 days. They are visited by health professionals who conduct daily surveillance and monitoring for any presentation of symptoms.
Surveillance and monitoring at ports of entry
Daily monitoring of incoming passengers are conducted at all ports of entries. There are health checks conducted at both the air and sea port. Moreover, all passengers are required to fill out a health form upon arrival that they submit to the Public Health Officer at these ports of entries. The Public Health Officer is the first point of contact for all passengers entering the country. Additionally, all cruise ships that operate in international waters are restricted from docking in Seychelles to limit the number of incoming visitors in the country.
New measures for health services
The Health Care Agency has setup new measures to facilitate service within health centres and the hospital. At each health centre and the Accident and Emergency Unit of the Seychelles Hospital there will be triage of patient based on symptoms described and travel history provided.
The Health Care Agency has also setup a new guidelines for visitors of patients at the Seychelles Hospital and the Family Hospital. All patients are allowed just one visitor at a time.
The Public Health Authority is advising against travel during these times.
Members of the public are advised to observe good personal hygiene. Practice frequent handwashing with soap and use hand sanitizers where available. Cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and dispose of the tissue in a bin, then immediately wash hands or use alcohol based sanitisers. Additionally, if not tissue is available, cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your arms in a dab motion when coughing or sneezing. Members of the public are also strongly advised to avoid large gathering.
There is a 24hr hotline for 141 where questions and concerns can be directed. A team of operators from various cadres will be available for assistance.
Protect yourself from COVID-19. Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.