Highlights of the week: Closure of the B10 road, outbreak of dengue fever, and depreciation of the rupee

Expat news
  • Mauritian rupee depreciation
Published on 2024-02-02 at 07:21 by Lila Chaleon*
This week was marked by the closure of the B10 road, the worrying arrival of a dengue epidemic, the depreciation of the rupee, and finally, a controversial increase in the entry tax.

Road B10 at Chemin-Grenier closed for roadworks

From February 5, the B10 road at Chemin-Grenier, near the Rivière-des-Galets bus station, will be closed in both directions due to work being undertaken by Safety Construction Ltd to build pipelines. This two-month closure will require the implementation of a detour scheme for motorists.

During this period, vehicles using the B10 will be redirected via a side road near the bus station to join the B9 coastal road. Traffic signs will be installed to direct drivers, and police officers will be present on-site to ensure the safety of road users.

Worrying rise in cases of dengue fever

Is a new dengue epidemic on the horizon? At a press conference on Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Kailesh Jagutpal, reported that Mauritius had 105 active cases of dengue fever. The Port-Louis region and surrounding areas account for the majority of cases, with 70 people affected, while some 20 cases have been reported in the northern regions, 12 in Plaines-Wilhems and 6 in Rodrigues. Since December 11, more than 220 cases of dengue fever have been recorded nationwide.

Locations where cases of dengue fever have been identified in the Port-Louis region include Baie du Tombeau, Cassis, Cité-La Cure, Cité-Vallijee, Le Hochet, Les Salines, Sainte-Croix, Vallée-des-Prêtres, Pailles, Tranquebar and Vallée-Pitot. In addition, risk zones were declared in GRNO, Coromandel, Pointe-aux-Sables, La-Tour-Kœnig and Petite-Rivière.

The northern regions, including Poudre d'Or, Poudre d'Or Hamlet, Plaine-des-Roches, Mont-Choisy, Vale, Pointe-des-Lascars, Pereybère, Grand-Baie, Morcellement St-André, Triolet, Pointe-aux-Cannonniers and Terre-Rouge, are also reported as areas where dengue cases have been recorded.

The rupee crosses a depreciation threshold

The Mauritian rupee has significantly depreciated recently, reaching a worrying new threshold. Valued at Rs 44.92 against the dollar in September last year, the national currency crossed the Rs 45 mark on January 24, according to data in the Monthly Statistical Bulletin published by the Bank of Mauritius. This depreciation trend has also manifested against other major currencies, notably the Euro and Pound sterling, from December 2022 to December 2023. These fluctuations raise concerns about the potential impact on the Mauritian economy.

Entry tax increased

After the disruption caused by cyclones Belal and Candice, foreign visitors to Mauritius faced a new source of concern in January, announcing a substantial increase in the Passenger Fee. Rising from $35 to $60 for each adult staying on the island, this 71.4% increase has sparked indignation among tourists and tourism operators alike. The news came as a shock in France, Mauritius' main tourist market. Initially announced in July 2023 and scheduled for January 1, 2024, the tax went largely unnoticed at the time.