Mauritius goes into lockdown following 15 cases of COVID-19
All passenger flights suspended19th Mar 2021
On 10 March 2021, the government of the Republic of Mauritius implemented new COVID-19 public health protocols, and placed the island nation on temporary lockdown until 25 March 2021. This follows the reporting of 15 cases of COVID-19 in the community. All international and domestic passenger flights have been suspended until 25 March 2021, but cargo flights will continue.
All 1.4 million citizens and residents, as well as visitors to the country, have been asked to stay at home or in their booked accommodation for the next two weeks, and to follow public health guidelines to allow for testing and other public health protocols. Public health officials have already implemented track-and-trace protocols, and have successfully located and isolated anyone who may have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Nilen Vencadasmy, Chairman of Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, said: ‘Mauritius’s number one priority is to keep our country safe and secure for all. Although just 15 cases of COVID-19 have been detected across the whole island, we have decided to implement the nationwide lockdown to make sure that there is no risk of its spreading further. These public health measures – whilst precautionary – are applicable to everyone, and all visitors to Mauritius must follow the rules. Mauritius is looking forward to welcoming visitors back later in 2021 in the knowledge that we are a safe and secure destination.’
Started in January 2021, Mauritius’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is one of the most ambitious in the world. The government has expanded the vaccination programme to all citizens and residents over the age of 18, including long-term international visitors who hold the Premium Visa. Temporary visitors in the country on short-term tourism visas are eligible for a visa extension or to transfer their visa to the long-stay Premium Visa. Mauritius is the only country in the world to offer both long-term visas and the vaccination free of charge and is part of the national campaign to help keep Mauritius Covid-secure.
Mauritius is using the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
On a practical note
The Mauritius government will ensure that all visitors currently in the country will receive any necessary support or emergency medical help. If you are in the not-so-unfortunate position of being ‘stuck in paradise’, you should let your national diplomatic representatives in Mauritius know that you are in the country. And you will need to liaise with your airline, hotel, tour operator and/or insurance companies to make appropriate arrangements.
Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority is working with hotel operators, tour operators, airlines, industry associations and others across the tourism sector to ensure that their customers and operations comply with the public health rules and to provide support to the sector. Where hotels are required to close, international visitors will be provided with assistance.
Let this be a warning
Mauritius has had one of the best responses to the Covid pandemic, and has been widely lauded internationally for its effective Covid strategy. But, even so, this sneaky little virus managed to wheedle its way onto the island. Let that be a lesson to us – you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, and you can’t hear it. But you’ll know it when it hits.