FISHING CREWS ON SPANISH TRAWLER FLEET FOUND INFECTED
(Posted 25th June 2020)
The Department of Health is taking no chances following reports of a virus outbreak onboard a fleet of Spanish fishing vessels, following a crew exchange last week. The old crew, having spend more than half a year on board, were returning home by air and some 207 crew members were flown into Mahe to replace them.
All of them had to produce a ‘negative’ certificate from their country of origin on arrival and were tested at the international airport on Mahe as is required under the current health regulations.
It appears that 20 of the sailors were now found positive on board their vessels and have been quarantined on board their ships in separate living quarters from the rest of their crew colleagues.
The development raises a number of questions just how accurate and reliable pre-travel testing is and should now be seen as a global test case as more and more countries begin rev up air travel again.
ATCNews will continue to monitor the development and update readers once additional information is available.
Meanwhile was it also confirmed from a regular source in Victoria, the Seychelles’ capital, that plans have been published to reopen tourism to the islands for visitors from what is judged to be low risk countries as of 01st of August. Certification of resorts is ongoing with the aim to provide enough accommodation for tourists when the industry kickstarts on that day.
However, the source also expressed some concerns about the case of the sailors on the Spanish tuna seiner fleet, saying pre-travel test certificates could be less reliable than hoped for and requesting extra caution by health authorities to have passengers undergo rapid tests at the airport upon arrival and preferably a second test follow up within a few days while visitors are at their resorts.
Extra references to physical distancing on beaches will be added to the existing catalogue of regulations to ensure that both inside the resorts but also at the beaches outside the resort visitors strictly observe the distancing guidelines. A task force which will include the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association besides governmental departments will work out recommendations and guidelines.