Sat, 19 Jun 2021

Two residents of Mauritius who were recently repatriated from India have tested positive for Covid-19, the country's first cases in nearly a month, the government announced late on Sunday.

The Indian Ocean island nation initially surged ahead of other East African countries in terms of caseload, hitting a peak of 332 just shy of six weeks into its outbreak.

But on 13 May, after going more than two weeks without a new case, officials declared wary victory over the virus, with Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal saying the country had "won the battle" but had "not yet won the war".

The two new cases are part of a group of 149 Mauritians repatriated from New Delhi and Mumbai on May 9 and placed in quarantine on their return, said Dr Zouberr Joomaye, spokesman for a government committee formed to combat Covid-19.

They are being held in the same quarantine centre and are asymptomatic, Joomaye said.

The news "justifies all the precautionary measures taken by the government," Joomaye told AFP.

"Can you imagine if these two people had been allowed to return home without going through quarantine here?"

Mauritius has now tallied 334 Covid-19 cases, with 10 deaths and 322 recoveries.

After its early steep rise in cases in March, officials imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Africa, going so far as to close all supermarkets for 10 days.

The supermarkets have since reopened, though the population has been divided into three groups based on the alphabetical order of their names, with each group authorised to shop on certain days.

A state of emergency will remain in place until 1 June and schools are expected to remain closed until 1 August.

But the government began easing confinement measures on 15 May, allowing some establishments including bakeries, butchers and hair salons to reopen.

Residents are required to wear masks and observe physical distancing rules, with violators ordered to pay a fine.

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