Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority revealed there were no new cases recorded in Mauritius for 20 consecutive days as of Sunday, May 17. Picture: Dengmo/Pexels.
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority revealed there were no new cases recorded in Mauritius for 20 consecutive days as of Sunday, May 17. Picture: Dengmo/Pexels.

How Mauritius overcame the coronavirus

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 19, 2020

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The majority of the world's most popular destinations have been massively affected by the coronavirus. 

Mauritius was among the many countries across the globe affected by the virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicted more than 20 000 cases and 1 139 deaths in the group age of over 60 years for the Indian Ocean island. 

But, the popular destination only encountered 332 positive cases and 10 deaths, of which only five directly related to the coronavirus, recorded for the entire population.  

In a press statement by Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), no new cases have been recorded in Mauritius for 20 consecutive days as of Sunday, May 17. 

Some of the reasons for the good news is the positive responsiveness of the Mauritian authorities and the effectiveness of a primary health system well-seasoned in dealing with epidemics such as malaria or dengue. Mauritius implemented Covid-19 measures well before WHO declared the virus a pandemic. 

MTPA revealed that from January 23, passengers inbound from China were quarantined, a measure extended to other Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan shortly thereafter. 

The destination declared a travel ban for these countries from February 2. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced the closure of the borders of Mauritius to the countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom by March 16, and Switzerland from Wednesday, March 18, for an initial period of two weeks.

By March 19, following the announcement that the country faced it's 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’s 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.

By March 19, following the announcement that the country faced it's 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.

"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. An application, beSafeMoris, was also launched for continuous and updated information on the situation and the necessary precautions to be taken, " the statement added. 

Mauritius believes the experience of local health services for diseases such as malaria has greatly helped in monitoring contact tracing of people found to be positive. 

MTPA also stated that the centralisation and creation of isolation units for people in need of intensive care has minimised the spread of the virus. Mauritius also created quarantine centres to accommodate all locals back to the country. 

Rodrigues Island, another part of the Mauritian Republic, located 600km from Port-Louis, recorded no cases of the virus. The sanitary confinement there lasted only 14 days.

MTPA revealed that tests for the Covid-19 virus will continue for everyone who worked during the confinement period, including medical personnel, police and other essential staff. To date, 87 177 tests of Covid-19 have been performed and 149 people are still in quarantine.

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