Authorities in Mauritius have announced a three-stage plan for the reopening of the country's borders, following a months-long closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. As part of the first stage, which will run through September, Mauritian nationals currently stranded abroad will be flown back to the country. From October 1, international commercial flights will resume, with borders open to tourists, residents, and nationals. Arrivals will be required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test five days prior to arrival, and undergo a 14-day quarantine at an establishment provided by authorities. Mauritian nationals, residents, and work-permit holders will receive priority over tourists when making bookings. The third stage will see a complete reopening of Mauritius' borders and will be carried out based on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing measures and the wearing of face masks are mandatory in Mauritius.
As of Sunday, September 20, authorities have confirmed 366 cases of COVID-19 in the country and ten associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.