COVID-19: Mauritius fears new lockdown after 10 new local cases

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Published on 2021-03-09 at 11:00 by Veedushi
After being "COVID-Safe" for several months, Mauritius is at risk of a new surge. At the time of publication of this article, ten new COVID-19 cases by local transmission had been detected. Among them are two children, twins aged 3 only.

During a press briefing earlier this week, the Minister of Health, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, spoke of an outbreak in the city of Curepipe and its surrounding areas. In fact, most of the positive cases since March 5 come from these regions. "This is a very serious situation," warned the Minister of Health. Recall that the first case was reported at SKC Surat, a local company specialising in the import of fruits and vegetables. Three employees, aged 44 and 24, respectively, tested positive. Since then, more than 300 employees of this company have been quarantined.

As we mentioned above, two 3-year-old children have also tested positive. Hence, all the children attending the same kindergarten as these twins, along with their parents and the teaching and non-teaching staff, were quarantined on Monday. The school administration had requested them to call in and get tested on Monday to ensure that they were not vectors of contamination.

The contact tracing exercise is still on to determine whether there could have been more infections. In case more positive cases are detected, the Minister of Health will be taking appropriate action. In fact, the risk of a new lockout is real. Last weekend, people had already started panic buying in most supermarkets around the island. Still, local authorities have guaranteed that there's no food shortage for now.

Since Saturday, most socio-cultural and religious associations around the island called the population to avoid gatherings as far as possible to minimise the risk of infection. Most socio-cultural and religious activities have also been cancelled.

Since last Friday, the National Committee on COVID-19 has been meeting every afternoon to bring out the latest updates. The government is currently looking at all the possibilities under different scenarios. On Tuesday, local authorities were considering a partial lockdown of the Curepipe/Floreal region for 15 days in order to contain the virus. Inhabitants of the region are requested to get a PCR test done if they suspect they have been in contact with an infected person and self-isolate in their region. They are also advised to avoid unnecessary travel and to comply with current health restrictions. The Ministry of Health recommends that people suffering from fever and cough symptoms get tested as soon as possible.

The vaccination campaign accelerates

The detection of new local cases of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the vaccination campaign, which began slowly a few weeks ago. On Monday alone, more than 7,000 vaccines had been administered in a single day. This week, a new system was set up to distinguish seniors and disabled people from the rest of the population to speed up the process. The Ministry of Health also intends to increase the number of vaccination centres to meet growing demand. Please note that the vaccination campaign will continue in alphabetical order in the designated centres this Thursday, March 11 and Friday, March 12, although they are public holidays.

Government is hiring doctors and nurses

Faced with the gravity of the situation, the Ministry of Health calls doctors and nurses to join the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for Covid-19 for an initial period of 6 months. This should help in meeting the growing demand for COVID-19 vaccination. Applicants must not be currently on duty for the Department of Health, but they must be registered with the Medical Council and the Nursing Council.