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21 Mar 2020 | 05:05 PM UTC

Mauritius: Country confirms first death from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) March 21 /update 3

Mauritius confirms first death from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on March 21; further international spread of COVID-19 to be expected over the near term



Mauritius confirmed its first death from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Saturday, March 21. The country had recorded 13 active cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday; all patients are reportedly in stable condition and are being treated while in quarantine.

To limit the further spread of the virus, all individuals, including Mauritian nationals, have been prohibited from entering the country through Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (MRU) from Thursday, March 19. All cruise ships have similarly been denied access to the country's port. The Ministry of Education also announced that all academic institutions would be closed from March 19 until further notice as a preventive measure.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.