World Insights: Chinese vaccines help Seychelles revitalize tourism

2021-05-18 06:31:29 GMT2021-05-18 14:31:29(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

VICTORIA, May 18 (Xinhua) -- The number of visitors received by Seychelles, an archipelago country of the Indian Ocean, has been on the rise since the reopening of its airport in March, thanks to tourists' growing confidence brought by the mass inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

During an earlier interview with the Seychelles News Agency, Seychellois President Wavel Ramkalawan refuted a recent fallacy that China's Sinopharm vaccine, together with some from other countries, is not effective on the population.

"It is important to mention that up to this date, Seychelles has not recorded any case of mortality of people fully vaccinated. And this has shown us the efficacy of the vaccination," Ramkalawan said.

Seychelles began its vaccination campaign in January with the Sinopharm vaccine being administered to people aged 18-60, and the president became the first in the country to receive the vaccine.

According to the country's Ministry of Health, a total of 69,708 people out of the target population of 70,000 have received the first dose of Sinopharm or other vaccines, amounting to 99.6 percent of the goal, and 61,360 people have received both doses.

"There were no lives lost and the patients have recuperated; this is the efficiency of the vaccine. If the vaccine were not effective, people would have died when infected, and there would have been many more people requiring hospitalization," he said.

"Small Seychelles as we are, we are the first in the world, and we remain first in the world in terms of vaccination. The world is following us to see what will happen to its efficacy and how vaccines are being analyzed," he added.

Given the success Seychelles had on the rate of vaccination, both Ramkalawan and Sylvestre Radegonde, the country's tourism minister, are optimistic to welcome more and more tourists, as tourism remains the top contributor to the country's economy.

According to Redegonde, since the reopening of Seychelles' borders to commercial passenger flights on March 25 to relaunch the tourism industry, the country has welcomed more than 24,000 visitors.

"The number of visitors we have received since the opening of the airport has increased. And on the other hand, the number of tourists identified as positive is almost zero. This shows that Seychelles is safe. Tourists can come on vacation," Ramkalawan said.

"On our side, we are taking precautions to protect our population in our daily lives and on the other, we have created the space for tourists to come and enjoy their vacations without the risk of being infected," he said.

"We are giving our full support to the Ministry of Health, and we are continuing to relay the message to the whole world that Seychelles is safe ... It is clear that due to the high number of people who have been vaccinated, even if the infection rate is high, not many people are getting serious COVID-19 complications," said Radegonde.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Seychelles has so far reached 9,184, with 32 deaths and 6,413 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health.

"What we are seeing now is a surge, and this again is something that happens in all countries after a period of stability; hence we call it a wave. You have a period of stability and then a wave comes, then comes stability and yet another wave," said Ramkalawan.

Seychelles is now going through that "wave," so will other countries, even those with decreasing cases, he said, adding, "We do not know when another wave will hit. Seychelles is going through the wave, but the country is in the limelight simply because of our success."

The Sinopharm vaccine has "served our population very well," he added. Enditem