VICTORIA: Seventy sailors from west Africa have tested positive for the novel coronavirus after arriving in Seychelles to join a fleet of Spanish tuna fishing boats, health authorities said.
The sailors from Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana are part of a group of 200 who arrived last week on the archipelago to replace crew who had spent six months at sea fishing for tuna.
The Seychelles, which had recorded its last cases of the virus in April and had come out of confinement after all 11 patients were healed, had taken measures to ensure the sailors were free of the virus.
“Before coming to Seychelles, they were tested in Senegal and in Ivory Coast and their results were negative, which allowed them to obtain the Covid-19 certificate which is a condition for entry into Seychelles,” public health commissioner Jude Gedeons said on Sunday.
He said there were “a total of 70 positive” cases.
“The sailors are currently in isolation on their vessel, because they have no symptoms of the illness.”
The Seychelles, whose economy relies on tourism, closed its borders in April to stop the spread of the virus, and banned cruise ships from the main island Mahe.
To make up for the loss of tourism revenues, the Indian Ocean archipelago has turned towards its second-largest sector fishing, by accepting the rotation of international teams on its soil, to obtain foreign currency.