Coronavirus Pandemic Coverage
While we are waiting for the detailed planning from the Prime Minister’s Office, to begin the slow re-opening of the country on May 4th, here’s how Mauritius responded to the pandemic outbreak.
As countries tiptoe towards loosening strict lockdown measures, we are on our 6th week of sanitary curfew in Mauritius. The local government has not hesitated to implement restrictions as the first Coronavirus confirmed cases were recorded.
While this decision aiming at combatting the spread of the virus, hit the overall economy, the tourism sector idled.
The tough policing announced on March 20th, involving total lockdown including the closure of supermarkets over a period of one week to smother the proliferation of the coronavirus shocked the general population.
As they faced tight restrictions, the ‘new normal’ failed for many, who had no food reserves. Two weeks later, restrictions shifted cautiously allowing the residents to access supermarkets twice weekly based on alphabetically arranged name lists.
By mid-April, the country emerged from its worst days, with a sudden drop in the record of new coronavirus cases.
BALANCING PUBLIC HEALTH AND AN IMPENDING CATASTROPHIC FINANCIAL CRISIS
While economists worldwide define the current situation as being the worst global crisis in decades, we witness in this unwelcomed way of life, local initiatives starting to create a social fabric through a show of solidarity involving humanitarian support, local food production and home delivery assistance.
As these local economic activities may ease the economic blow to some extent and for a portion of the population added to the relief package initiated by local authorities to assist freelance workers, our needs today are universal and we have to devise ways to cope with the post-lockdown critical realities.
CHANNELLING OUR RESPONSE INTO A SURVIVAL STRATEGY
A slow relaxation of restrictions is being discussed by lawmakers, leading Mauritians to emerge from uncertainty to revive daily life. Struggling businesses will undoubtedly be on the priority list of local authorities. The disturbing degree of global morbidity and mortality will impact the local economy and not being a matter of hastening recovery, a new economic model embracing innovation and sustainability across all sectors, might be the response to the brutal crackdown, for the island nation.