How has Mauritius overcome COVID-19?

Mauritius is a tropical island paradise and a firm favourite travel destination for South Africans and was among the many countries across the globe affected by the COVID-19.

However, Mauritius is one of the few to have recorded least cases and initially surged ahead of other East African countries in terms of caseload, hitting a peak of just 332 just over six weeks into its outbreak. Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) prediction of more than 20 000 cases and 1 139 death for the Indian ocean but, the popular tourist destination Mauritius only encountered 332 positive cases, 322 recoveries and 10 deaths, of which only five directly related to the coronavirus, and now island nation of Mauritius currently has 0 active coronavirus infections according to Africa News.

Just like most countries, Mauritius did not manage to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic entirely. However, it has successfully managed to deal with it decisively and as of the 13th of May, it has been declared COVID-19 free. According to the article published by Gateways dated 19 May 2020 “As of Sunday 17 May no new reported cases for 20 consecutive days.” Mauritius has adopted a proactive approach in dealing with this pandemic and probably that is one of the reasons they overcome it. Mauritius did not wait for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the coronavirus as a pandemic before implementing precautionary and control measures.

As of 23 January, inbound passengers from China were quarantined, a measure extended to other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan shortly thereafter (Fronman, 2020). On 02nd February, there was an outright travel ban of these nationals and that alone made it possible to control and deal with this pandemic. Mauritius records it first 2 cases of COVID-19 in nearly a month-long lull and these two new cases are part of a group of 149 Mauritians repatriated from New Delhi and Mumbai on 09th May and placed in quarantine on their return.

By 19th March, following the announcement that the country faced its first three cases of the COVID-19 virus, the Prime Minister declared a State of National containment for 14 days. The entire economy shut down, except for essential services and a few grocery stores and pharmacies. Sanitary confinement was tightened three days later. It was extended three times, and a gradual opening of certain sectors of the economy commenced from 15 May. 

“Mauritius’ success in controlling and stabilising the Coronavirus can, therefore, be explained by the importance attached to this pandemic by the Mauritian authorities. The closure of the borders first for the Asian countries affected by COVID-19 and then for all other countries, and the quarantine of Mauritians and residents coming from abroad, demonstrates the will to prevent the coronavirus from reaching the coasts of Mauritius,” the statement by MTPA revealed.

“We also note a desire for transparency and continuous communication with daily press conferences of the Mauritius National Communication Committee of COVID-19 and regular interventions by the Prime Minister even when he was in self-isolation. ” the statement added. Mauritius believes the experience of local health services for diseases such as Malaria has greatly helped in monitoring and tracing of people found to be positive. 

Even though there are no new cases that have been detected for the last 32 days, vigilance has not been relaxed. Tests for the Covid-19 virus continue for all those who worked during the confinement period, including medical personnel, police and employees of grocery stores. To date, 87,177 tests of COVID-19 have been performed and 149 people are still in quarantine.

The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) recently released a statement reassuring South Africans that Mauritius is still very much open for business, as airlines and tour operators continue to take holiday bookings in anticipation of the skies opening up once COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions allow.  

As the situation stands, we plead with every South Africans, our current client base and all travellers to continue to abide by lockdown regulations and precautions so we all make it to a COVID-19 free South Africa soon where we will be able explore our favorite destination Mauritius.

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