Southern and Eastern Africa COVID-19 Digest

Situation Report
Mauritius — Trends

Country has now five COVID-19 patients after it was declared virus free

  • First case: 19 March 2020

  • Total cases: 341 (as of 24 June 2020)

  • Total deaths: 10

  • Schools: Closed (277,099 learners affected).

  • Borders/Flights: Commercial flights have been suspended since 19 March.

  • Containment measures: 14-day quarantine mandatory for individuals who have had possible exposure to COVID-19; movements limited to essential services and work.

Situation:

Mauritius has five individuals with COVID-19, out of 341 people who contracted the virus across the country, according to the Ministry of Health. The country had previously declared it was COVID-19 free, as no new cases had been registered since 26 April, but new cases were reported among returnees at the end of May.

On the restrictions, from 15 May some non-essential business have been allowed to resume activities and public transport are now operating. The Government has reportedly issued strict guidelines and regulations that both commuters and public transport operators will have to adhere during the new phase. All buses and metros will be disinfected regularly, limitations on the number of passengers and hours of operation have been stablished, according to media reports.

Rights groups and lawyers in the country have reportedly criticized the new Quarantine Act 2020, terming it as controversial and likely to lead to police abuse, according to media reports. The Act, passed on 15 May to address the COVID-19 pandemic, replaces the Quarantine Act from 1954. Activists, quoted by the media, state that the Government took advantage of the strict lockdown situation to pass a controversial bill in just three days, without proper democratic debate. The Act allegedly gives more powers to the police in Mauritius, raising alarm among rights group who fear it may worsen police brutality in the country. One of the provisions of the law allows police to enter premises and arrest a person without a warrant. At least five deaths have been reported while in police custody and several cases of police brutality have reportedly been recorded during the two-and-a-half months of confinement, according to the media.

Response:

  • The Government has announced plans to increase general public health spending by Rs208 million (approximately US$5.25 million), with half already disbursed, according to the IMF.

Official sources:

Government of Mauritius Official Twitter and  Government of Mauritius COVID-19 webpage

Other links:

U.S. Embassy in Mauritius Travel Advisory – 14 April 2020

COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response, by UNESCO

COVID-19 World Travel Restrictions, by the Emergency Division of the World Food Programme (WFP)

Global COVID-19 Airport Status, by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Policy Responses to COVID-19, by IMF

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