According to WHO, the current situation of COVID-19 has reached up to 166,860,081 cases with 3,459,996 deaths. Mauritius is a small island with a 1.3 million population, listed as 13 high-risk countries in Africa Region for COVID-19 infection by the UN.
In fact, on 18 March 2020, there were 3 cases of COVID-19, and after two days, the country went into lockdown. Within eight days, 102 cases were reported, and by 6 April 2020, there were already 244 cases that made the country go into complete lockdown for weeks, and the lockdown ended when there were no cases across the island was by the end of May 2020. The government and the whole nation played a significant role in helping the pandemic get over.
The economy of Mauritius suffered in the year 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius stated that in 2014 the GDP in billion USD (Gross Domestic Product) was 14.05, while in 2020, it dropped by three, which came up to 11.40. The country’s General Government Gross Department rose from 82% to 87% in the year 2020. Amidst all these, the government helped its country enormously. (Source: Statistics of Mauritius)
The government set up a COVID solidarity fund, where all the money would help the needy people, and the fund received RS 28,025,759 (MUR), which the European Union contributed RS11.3 million in April 2020. The government ensured that the senior citizen was protected, 35,000 food packs and their pension reached their house at free cost. They even received doctors visit in their home and free winter vaccination so that their safety is ensured. Furthermore, the government gave free water and electricity to senior citizens during the lockdown period, and no surplus fee shall be charged for the whole country until the end of the confinement.
To support the nation of Mauritius, the government put up a self-employed scheme where 80,0000 self-employed people received RS12,750 from 16 March 2020 to the end of May 2020. Shop’s owners and house tenants got up till December 2021 to pay their rents, which was a significant relief for many businesses. The DBM (Development Banks of Mauritius) offered loans of Rs 1 million with no interest at all to businesses that needed funding. According to the Statistics of Mauritius, the most considerable relief of government support on employment was recorded in farming, retail and trade services. (Source: The COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) ACT 2020)
The pandemic did not only make our economy suffer but also domestic violence in the household increased. According to the Statistics of Mauritius, from 20 March to 30 May 2020, there were 520 cases of domestic violence where 93% were female victims, and 111 females forsaken their conjugal roof. (Source: Statistics of Mauritius)
Moving to the health department, Mauritius was not equipped with essential health equipment for the whole nation. Thus, thanks to Beijing, Mauritius got 231 tonnes of medical equipment such as masks and overall health care staff and front liners. Also, India donated 13 tonnes of medication and 500,000 hydroxychloroquine medicine tablets. Mauritius was among the first countries to have received this medicine and started treatment. Within days, Mauritius received donations from Jack Ma African Union, which sent 20,000 diagnostics kits and 101,000 protective equipment’s. (Source: Africanews and WHO in Mauritius)
The country had established a contact tracing system, where if a person were COVID-19 positive, they would do contact tracing with all the people the latter met and were placed into 14 days of quarantine even if they were negative. The government received the help of hotels, and 1700 hotel rooms were given to do quarantine for the infected people (Source: Government of Mauritius 2020)
NGO’s (Non-governmental organisation) have been a great help during the pandemic. The NGO made regular significant donations to vulnerable families. Almost 1 ton of non-perishable foodstuffs were distributed to families who were in need. The donations were being made weekly around the country and fuel station such as Engen gave free fuel to make food packs reach the families. Companies such as Velogic and Rogers Aviation have distributed gloves, masks and sanitisers to front liners. Rogers Aviation worked on making the residents and tourists reach their respective countries. Plaisance Air Transport Services (PATs) speed up their custom system for the medical equipment and products.
Furthermore, Business Mauritius and Velogic Leadership team worked together to conquer the challenges at cross-border logistics. They also set up many schemes for food distribution and pharmaceutical products around the country. NGO channels ensured that their actions were being efficient and through social media and provide comfort to vulnerable families.
As a united nation, Mauritians started to cope with fighting this pandemic. Spiritual prayers were being made in each sacred place and respective homes. Shopkeepers, banks, hospitals and made sure mask, sanitisers and social distance were maintained. Temperature is still being checked at the entrance of any building. In each building, there has been an isolation room that was set up for emergency use.
Mauritius has been performing earnestly during the COVID-19 pandemic in minimising the spread and the impacts of the pandemic. With the total lockdown and closure of the borders, it was possible to prevent an extensive infection. Efficient and prompt government relief strategies have made it possible for the economy to get down the right path again. Lastly, confinement was a struggle for both the country and its individuals. Without the government generous funding and support and the NGO’s relief highlighted in the above discussion, the country would have been in a detrimental state.