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Mauritius halts flights over new COVID-19 variant

from HANSLEY NABAB in Port Louis, Mauritius
PORT LOUIS – MAURITIUS is suspending commercial flights from a number of Southern African countries following the emergence of the B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant.

Flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be suspended from Monday (November 29) to December 31.

The new variant has been detected in South Africa, one of 16 countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, of which Mauritius is a member.

“It is with regret that the Government of Mauritius has today taken the decision that all flights from these countries will be suspended,” said Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

All passengers landing in Mauritius from these countries over the current weekend will be subject to a mandatory test which will be performed at the airport.

In addition, they will have to undergo tests on day 7 and day 14.

Mauritius believes the decision is necessary to protect the safety and security of its citizens, residents and visitors.

Mauritius’ COVID-19 response has been widely recognised as one of the most effective globally, and a key part of its strategy has been to exercise caution when setting travel policy.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, Mauritius has imposed one of the most efficient pandemic responses,” Bundhun said.

“Maintaining this approach necessitates that we continue to follow a strict, public health-first approach in our COVID policies, including caution on inbound travel.”

“The Government of Mauritius looks forward to welcoming visitors from these countries as soon as the public health situation improves,” Bundhun stated.

Since reopening its borders to international travellers on October 1, after 18 months of closure, the Indian Ocean island nation has welcomed more than 100 000 visitors.

Mauritius has recorded 20 914 COVID-19 cases, including 185 deaths.

– CAJ News

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