Seychelles has been removed from the list of countries whose residents are not allowed to enter Australia because of concerns over the COVID-19 Omicron variant, which has not been detected in the island nation, the tourism department said on Wednesday.
Confirmation of Seychelles’ removal from the list came on November 29 through a statement issued by the office of the Prime Minister of Australia. The Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, has also been detected in Australia and many other countries.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, expressed satisfaction that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has been removed from Australia’s list of concern.
“Our Foreign Affairs Department intervened with our counterparts in Australia immediately after receipt of the advisory, discussion of which has led to the positive outcome,” said Radegonde.
“We have very strong health measures in place with all arriving passengers required to provide proof of a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours or less prior to departure from their country,” he continued.
The Minister added that passengers may only stay in establishments that have developed safety protocols for their operational staff and guests and are certified-COVID safe by the Ministry of Health. People must wear face masks at all times when in public places, ensure social distancing and avoid congregating in groups.
“We have taken all the steps to ensure the safety of our visitors and our own population, and visitors to Seychelles can make the most of their holidays and our destination in all serenity,” said Radegonde.
Earlier this week, the Platinum committee for the national COVID response chaired by President Wavel Ramkalawan announced that the Omicron variant has not been detected in the Indian Ocean Islands.
Visitors from seven southern African countries — South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibian and Zimbabwe — are not allowed to enter Seychelles until further notice.
In the revised travel advisory, all persons already in Seychelles who have been to these countries in the last two weeks have to go for a PCR test if they have been in Seychelles from five up to 14 days after arrival. Those who have been in Seychelles for less than five days must wait for day five of their stay to go for the PCR test.
All Seychellois and residents returning to Seychelles who have been to any of the seven countries in the last two weeks are required to self-quarantine and take a compulsory PCR test on day five after arrival.
The national airline, Air Seychelles, cancelled all flights from Johannesburg to Seychelles with the exception of flights on December 1, 7 and 19.