Israelis Stuck in Seychelles Quarantine Over 'False COVID Tests'

Amid complaints of false positive tests, Israel calls on its citizens to follow the archipelago's COVID guidelines, as the most vaccinated country in the world reimposes restrictions over hiking infection rates

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Haaretz
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Seychelles
The islands of Seychelles have recently reimposed coronavirus restrictionsCredit: KarlosXII / Shutterstock
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Haaretz

Israel has called on its citizens in the Seychelles to comply with quarantine regulations after dozens of vaccinated tourists complained on social media that they were prevented from leaving the Indian Ocean archipelago due to what they believe to be false positive COVID-19 tests.

The travelers, many of whom vented their frustrations on the Hebrew Facebook page, “Seychelles for Travelers during Coronavirus,” believed that their results were inaccurate and complained that they were forced to quarantine for ten days before being allowed to return home, TheMarker, Haaretz's financial supplement, reported.

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A number of tourists who tested positive for the virus stated that follow-up tests conducted immediately afterwards showed they were not, in fact, infected. They complained that the need to quarantine in local hotels was costing them hundreds of dollars.

“Many say that they are speaking about rumors but that doesn't make sense…We've heard in the last two days about more than 20 cases of Israelis being infected,” tourist Tal Atias, who is currently quarantining in the Seychelles, wrote on the group.

The Seychelles began allowing vaccinated Israelis to enter without quarantining on March 25.

“The conduct here is simply absurd,” complained Israeli tourist Liav. “There’s no chance that so many vaccinated Israelis are coming out positive. Most of the service providers here are vaccinated,” he said.

The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago off the coast of Kenya, leads the world in vaccinations, with over 62 percent of all adults having received two doses of the Chinese Sinopharm or Indian Covishield shots.However, the country reimposed social distancing restrictions on Tuesday, shutting down schools and stores and banning most public gatherings following a new surge in cases.

According to the Seychelles News Agency, the country’s health ministry recorded 497 new cases recorded during between April 29 and May 1. Currently, the country has 1,068 verified patients – 35 percent of whom received the jab, according to TheMarker.

Despite the stories circulating on social media, Israeli officials believe that the complaints are largely exaggerated. One official who spoke with Haaretz on Wednesday afternoon stated that Jerusalem is only aware of ten positive cases out of approximately 3,500 citizens currently in the country and that it did not believe that the Seychelles would do anything to harm Israeli tourism, which is important to the local economy.

According to the official, the Israeli Ambassador in Kenya spoke with the Seychelles health ministry on Tuesday to inquire about the situation. A subsequent statement issued by the embassy stated that Israeli tourism “constitutes a significant share of inbound tourism to the Seychelles” and called on Israeli tourists not to break quarantine.

“Tourists who have been found positive for coronavirus must comply with local guidelines,” the statement added.

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