Mauritius closes its borders after spike in COVID cases

Mauritius has gone into lockdown and suspended flights in and out of the island for two weeks following the discovery of 15 more cases of COVID-19, the Mauritius state tourism agency said on Wednesday.

Mauritius has stopped inbound commercial flights, effective midnight Saturday until further notice, after six local Covid-19 cases were detected over two days, Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal said.

The objective of the move is to free up space for people to be placed in quarantine following a contact-tracing process, Jagutpal told reporters in the capital, Port Louis. The suspension of flights would provide the ministry with breathing space as it rolls out vaccinations to the population, he said.

The Indian Ocean island of 1.4 million people has had 641 confirmed coronavirus cases with 10 deaths, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data.

All residents and visitors have been asked to stay at home or in their hotels until March 25, the agency said in a statement.

“We have decided to implement the nationwide lockdown to make sure that there is no risk of it spreading further,” said Nilen Vencadasmy, chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

“Mauritius is looking forward to welcoming visitors back later in 2021 in the knowledge that we are a safe and secure destination.” said Vencadasmy.

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