Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest (Discontinued on 31 Aug 2020)

Situation Report
Seychelles — Trends

Surge in COVID-19 infections after the country was declared virus free

  • First case: 14 March

  • Total cases: 114 (as of 1 August 2020)

  • Total deaths: 0

  • Schools: Reopened in mid-May.

  • Flights/Borders: Airport reopened on 1 August.

  • Containment measures: Most restrictions are now lifted, with specific guidance to prevent transmissions.


After several weeks of not having registered any new COVID-19 infections, at least 66 seafarers tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Seychelles on 23 June. The seafarers were part of the new crew members assigned to rotate with staff aboard Spanish fishing vessels who had been more than six months in the Seychelles. The new crew had reportedly tested negative for the virus during an exit screening conducted three days prior to their departure from Senegal and Ivory Coast. The seafarers who tested positive were isolated on a dedicated ship of the fishing fleet for monitoring by the onboard doctor.

As announced by President Danny Faure, all restrictions on the movement of people were removed from 4 May, while most services and businesses are allowed to operate, with specific guidance to be followed by some sectors. Religious services are also allowed, following guidance from the Department of Health. Day-care services resumed on 11 May, while all primary and secondary schools reopened on 18 May.

The country’s international airport reopened for commercial flights on 1 August. A designated establishment within the tourism industry has been sett up to cater for the eventuality that a visitor needs to be isolated during their stay in Seychelles.

The tourism sector, the top contributor to the island nation's economy, has been the hardest hit as visitor arrivals to the country dropped to almost zero. From 1 March to 3 July, data from the Department of Employment have shown that 100 businesses have applied for permission under the Employment Act to make redundancies, as quoted by the media. Nearly 230 Seychellois and more than 170 foreigners in the tourism sector have reportedly lost their jobs, with an estimated 4,000 that also might have lost their jobs due to the impact of the virus on the country’s economy.


  • The Government announced it will be cut non-essential spending across most ministries, departments and agencies by introducing measures such as placing a freeze on recruitment, restricting travel and reducing allowances. With the cancellation of several festivals and delaying the national census to 2021, the resources saved will be used to finance the construction of an isolation centre, increase actual quarantine capacity and other health-related projects.

  • Financial assistance will reportedly be provided to businesses to ensure that all their employees are paid in April, May and June 2020.

Official sources:

Seychelles State House Official Twitter and Ministry of Health webpage  

Additional restrictions of movement in Seychelles, by State House on 16 April

Presidential address on COVID-19 situation on 14 April

Other links:

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Response to COVID-19, by IMF