Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Seychelles to allow commercial tourist activities from Aug. 1. Low-level travel and business disruptions possible.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 12:53 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 19 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Low-level travel and business disruptions

Summary
The phased reopening of Seychellois borders, which began June 1, is ongoing as of July 31. From Aug. 1, commercial tourist activity will resume in the country. Travelers arriving in the Seychelles aboard private charters or by private sea vessels must send an application for entry to Public Health Authority prior to arrival. Limited international commercial air travel will continue to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ). All arrivals must have a proof of accommodation from a government approved establishment. All travelers must also provide a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 72 hours before travel. Only travelers from low and medium-risk countries, as assessed by the Ministry of Tourism, will allowed to enter the country. Travelers could face further screening and hygiene measures.

Sporting events have resumed, and bars and restaurants are permitted to reopen. All resorts can be reopened, provided persons adhere to social distancing and sanitation methods. New travel and safety guidelines have been issued to assess establishment readiness before being permitted to reopen.

Much of the business and retail sector, including postal service, tourism, schools, and indoor religious services, can begin to reopen; however,shops, retail, and wholesale outlets will be required to close 2000-0600. Persons contravening movement or travel restrictions are subject to a fine or arrest. Amendments to this are likely to be implemented on short notice if the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

Background and Analysis
The widespread easing of restrictions is one of the first in Africa following months of lockdown measures triggered by the spread of COVID-19. However, the recent spike in case numbers has prompted authorities to threaten a shutdown of businesses and institutions who contravene social distancing measures. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions and consult Ministry of Tourism for complete information regarding travel in the Seychelles. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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