PORT LOUIS, 10 March 2021 – Mauritius on Wednesday entered a 15-day national lockdown after a rise in COVID-19 cases ever since the beginning of March 2021.
Long queues formed at petrol stations and people were in panic buying of basic needs Tuesday, shortly after it became known that the lockdown was coming.
The lockdown has shutdown every business and service except for the most essential services: healh facilities, police and other security services, seaports and airports.
Supermarkets, bakeries and banks will be open (in alphabetical order) from Thursday, attending at any given time to only a limited number of clients.
Attendance at weddings and funerals are restricted to no more than 50 people while public gatherings, restaurants, theaters, bars and nightclubs will remain closed.
Vacoas-Phoenix and Curepipe are among the two worst-hit towns by the new coronavirus in all of Mauritius, according to the country’s health ministry, which warns that the virus is spreading quickly beyond these epicenters.
“The situation is no longer the same. The virus is no longer in a single cluster,” Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said Tuesday night during a televised address to the nation.
Public health officials in the Indian Ocean island nation have confirmed 15 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the month, with five new cases reported on Tuesday alone.
Since the first case of the virus was detected in Mauritius a year ago, the country has confirmed 641 cases with ten fatalities, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Violators of the 15-day lockdown could be fined and/or be jailed for not more than five years.
Mauritius put in place a similar 15-day lockdown in June 2020 and officials in the capital, Port Louis point to the sacrifices consented by citizens during that lockdown to explain why, according to them, COVID-19 cases have been so low in the country.