1 May 2020
The Honourable Pravind Kumar JUGNAUTH
Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications
Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity
Our country and the world, in general, are going through a difficult time. Half of the population is in confinement, more than 3 million affected and more than 200,000 deaths registered. In Mauritius, we had a 10th death, that of Dr. Bruno Cheong. I present my condolences to his family. He was at the forefront of this battle. I also present my condolences to the family of all 9 victims. We are doing our best to fight this and get ourselves to normal.
Up to today, no one has found a treatment against Covid. We don’t know when a vaccine will be available. This virus is dangerous and has proven to be fatal in many cases. We need to live with the virus for now and accept to change our habits. Here we have stabilized the propagation of the virus. Several actions were taken. WHO declared the pandemic on 11 March. We in Mauritius, we already took the precautions well in advance. Not all planes were allowed to land, many passengers from risk countries were not allowed to land. We closed the frontier as well as schools when the first case was declared. This is an unprecedented situation but we took the right decisions because the health of the population was our priority. In the meantime, the economy was highly affected. Despite this, we came with social measures to help people in their needs and we also implemented measures of prevention of employment loss. We have also supported informal sector people.
We now need to look forward. we are extending the sanitary curfew up to 1 June 20. From 15 May, more activities will be allowed. But we need to apply strict measures and provided that the situation is under control. Beaches, horseraces, entertainment (casino, cinema), markets, etc will remain closed. Restaurants can operate on take-away orders exclusively. Religious activities will not be authorized. Wedding and funeral with limited people/crowd. All crowd leads to risks – and we do not want to put anybody under such risks. Shopping malls will be closed also. We will communicate the list of businesses that will remain closed. We will not open the frontier. This will depend on our situation as well as the world. Schools will be closed up to 1 Aug. Opening will be done in a phased process. Commerce that needs to operate will need to apply for a work access permit. This will be done through a digital system and verified by Police online. Such commerce includes all food-related businesses (bakeries, etc.). Day carers and other workers such as hairdressers can apply for the work access permit. No garment or luxury product shops will be allowed to open. Banks and other commerce will be called to operate through alphabetical order system.
The Elderly will receive their pension at home and at a special counter at banks. Elders can take public transport in alphabetical orders off-peak hours. All buses will be disinfected regularly and obey to Min transport instructions.
Taxis can take max of 3 passengers. 1 in front and 2 at the back.
Bikes cannot take passengers except wife & child.
Metro: social distancing will be implemented
Offices, factories/construction sites: a series of measures will be communicated by Business Mauritius. Work from home is encouraged as far as possible, including fr civil servant: a circular will be issued shortly.
Fishermen, planters and tea planters can get back to their occupation, still, they should take all precautions that are required under the present circumstances.
From 15 May: all independent doctors and health sectors can operate. Dentists and opticians will need additional measures as precautions.
Installation of flu clinics separate from hospitals will be done.
This first phase of gradual confinement release can succeed only with your collaboration. Soon, there will be a Covid 19 Law and members of Parliament will be able to bring their contribution. We are also taking population suggestions through BeSafeMoris, a platform created especially for the present situation. We need to succeed in this first phase to get to normal again. I’m aware that the situation of confinement is very difficult. Let us continue in this effort so as not to lose what we have achieved.
I thank all employees of essential services for their effort during this difficult time. We are doing our best to get back to normal life. Today, 1 May is the Labour day. First time in the world we are living this day under such conditions. We should not forget the sacrifices of the workers. Despite the situation, I wish the best for the working population.
Since independence, we haven’t had this type of situation, history will be a witness of our effort at this time. We all should unite to fight the virus.
Long live Mauritius.