Author: Ashwanee Budoo-Scholtz
Programme Manager of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
When Mauritius recorded its first Covid-19 case on 18 March 2020, the country already had the strong backbone of the ‘solid social protection system’ to ensure that affected sections of the society are supported. In the area of health, in 2011, it was estimated that Mauritius had 3.4 hospital beds per 1000 population which was better than most sub-Saharan African countries. Hence, one could assume that the government of Mauritius would not face the failure of countries such as South Africa when it came to the provision of health care services for those affected by Covid-19.
As of 1 October 2021, Mauritius had a total of 15,695 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 84 deaths. This was after the country relaxed its lockdown restrictions at the national level. The government has time and again spoken with pride of it being a best practice when it comes to preparedness for dealing with the Covid-19 virus. Indeed, once the country was hit by its first case of COVID-19, it started taking all measures possible to make sure it deals with the provision of health care services. To begin with, in the initial stages, it identified the New Souillac hospital and the New Ear Nose and Throat Hospital (New ENT Hospital) as a quarantine and isolation centre for those showing moderate to severe symptoms of Covid-19. For those with mild symptoms, they were isolated in make-shift treatment centres free of charge with regular follow-up. As the pandemic evolved, the country designated the New ENT Hospital, ‘equipped with the latest modern equipment and technology’ as the facility for treating Covid-19. Hence, anyone testing positive for Covid-19 with symptoms would be transferred to the New ENT Hospital. The country has also fully vaccinated more than half of the population.