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The Seychelles has suffered the world’s biggest surge in coronavirus cases – despite nearly 70% of its population having received a vaccine.
On Monday, the latest date for which figures are available, the archipelago’s seven-day case rate per one million people was 1,480, the highest in the world. It compares to the Maldives, the second highest, with 827 cases per million.
This comes despite 69.19% of people on Seychelles having at least one dose of a vaccine.
According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data website, this is the highest vaccination coverage of all countries in the world.
As a result of the surge in cases, Seychelles announced on Tuesday that it is bringing back restrictions such as school closures and a ban on household mixing. It had reopened to tourists at the end of March.
Health minister Peggy Vidot said: “Despite all the exceptional efforts we are making, the COVID-19 situation in our country is critical right now with many daily cases reported last week.”
Seychelles, with a population of about 98,000, currently has 1,068 active cases.
The BBC has reported the country’s news agency as saying a third of those active cases are among people who have received two vaccines.
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Bloomberg has reported Seychelles is rolling out two jabs: the Sinopharm vaccine, developed in China; and the Covishield jab, a version of AstraZeneca vaccine produced in India.
According to Reuters, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it has "very low confidence" in vaccine data provided by Sinopharm.
While the reports will raise concerns about the effectiveness of those two jabs, Seychelles' current high case rate also highlights how quickly the virus can spread among a minority – in this case 30.81% – of people who haven't received a dose of a vaccine.
The WHO has previously warned vaccines alone can't stop the pandemic and bring infections under control, and that social distancing measures are just as important as the rollout continues.
Chile, for example, has also seen a surge in COVID cases despite its high take-up – 42.73% as of Monday – of vaccines.
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