As COVID-19 cases surged in many parts of the world, the island nation of the Seychelles was looking good: 70-plus straight days without a single infection. Then the planes arrived.
Two chartered Air Seychelles flights carrying more than 200 passengers also brought the coronavirus. A few tested positive. Then, between June 24 and 30, the country’s confirmed cases shot from 11 to 81.
Now the Indian Ocean nation has delayed reopening for commercial flights for its lucrative tourism industry until Aug. 1, if all goes well.
African nations face a difficult choice as infections are rapidly rising: Welcome the international flights that originally brought COVID-19 to the ill-prepared continent, or further hurt their economies and restrict a lifeline for badly needed humanitarian aid.
African air travel at near-standstill in recent months
Relatively few confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Africa.
Less air travel might be a factor after most countries closed their borders. But more are starting to resume passenger flights.