Health authorities put the cart before the ox!

While it is generally accepted that Dr. Gedeon and his team have so far done quite a good job of managing the COVID19 pandemic in Seychelles; certain aspects of their planning leaves much to be desired. Last week Dr. Gedeon announced that a small tourism establishment would be used as a sort of quarantine facility for any visitor who despite all the controls is found to be COVID19 positive upon arrival in Seychelles, but who nonetheless remain asymptomatic. The facility will be known as a Safe Stay Hotel.

According to him, those personnel who work in that establishment will be trained up to professional level in giving care to the infected visitors, under the mentorship of a health professional, who will most probably be a nurse. The employees there will conduct daily checks on the visitors along the same lines as the quarantine centres operate. The Seychelles Hotels Tourism Association had earlier during the week explained that the visitors will be able to enjoy their vacation there in a restrained manner in that they will be limited in their movements; but will have access to a private beach. The health authorities have explained that this will only apply for those visitors who test positive while here but who do not show any symptoms of being ill from COVID19. They will have to foot the bill for their stay and services they receive at the Safe Stay Hotel. Should any visitor test positive for the virus and shows symptoms of illness, he or she will be transferred to the isolation centre for treatment. The public accepts that there is a necessity for Seychelles to re-open its borders and welcome visitors again, but there is also a great sense of concern bordering on fear of another wave of COVID19 coming into the country. Against such a backdrop the designation of a ‘safe stay hotel’ is also welcomed by the public; but with a huge reservation-this thing is not yet up and running!Despite the fact that the visitors are expected to arrive as from 1st of August albeit in small numbers, this crucial facility, is still a plan on paper at the moment. Now that they have agreed on the details in that it will have to be a small establishment offering not more than 50 rooms; they still have to start the tender process!

Dr. Gedeon said it is expected that this will start this week. Government tenders have a tendency to being a long and protracted process and most people expect that this one will be no different from others before it.

As such people are anxious and are asking why was this aspect not fast tracked before the country re-opens to commercial international passenger flights? The question that begs is what will the local authorities do if a group of visitors test positive upon entering the country and the facility is not ready yet? Some people say that the state is taking a risk with public health and safety, while others maintain that it is….

“A classic example of putting the cart before the ox!”