The Mauritian government confirmed its first three cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country on Thursday, March 19. The individuals are Mauritian nationals, two of which were employees on a cruise ship while one had returned from the UK. Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth added that all three Mauritians are currently in isolation at the Souillac Hospital.
To limit further spread of the virus, all individuals including Mauritian nationals, will be prohibited from entering the country through the airport from 10:00 (local time) on Thursday, March 19. Travelers arriving into Mauritius before 10:00 (local time) will be quarantined immediately. All cruise ships have similarly been denied access to the country's port. The Ministry of Education also announced that all academic institutions will be closed from March 19 as a preventive measure until further notice.
Authorities have appealed to the public to remain vigilant during this period, and to abide by all precautionary measures implemented by the government. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in 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 trouble 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.