Invitation to debate: A major challenge confronts Mauritius in the very near future: DECONFINEMENT and return to normality.
A debate is open for helping our decision-makers take the right decision at the right time. Professional bodies, scientists, economists, NGOs, media, members of parliament (both in government and opposition), trade-union leaders and others are invited to join and make their contribution.
Notes below may help start the debate.
ELEMENTS FOR AN EXIT STRATEGY FOR DECONFINEMENT
FOUR main elements need definition in detail. These are based on the best practices which have been reported from other countries which have had experience with COVID-19 (and ,where applicable, with previous epidemics such as SARS, H1N1 and Ebola recently as well as Spanish flu, plague and cholera in the past).
1. MAINTAINTENANCE OF MOST if not ALL sanitary measures now in place (such as social distancing, washing of hands, sanitizing contact areas, wearing of masks and gloves etc). For how long? Relaxed eventually in phases? Development and adoption of a series of new social measures for greetings, meetings, religious events, weddings and funerals etc
2. REOPENING OF THE COUNTRY, IN PHASES.
• transport and freedom of movement and travel,
• industry and business, government and parastatal bodies, NGOs, agricultural activities, construction, full banking facilities, restoration of scavenging and repair services for water, electricity, telecommunications, housing etc (in some cases with reduced staff density at the start),
• restoration of full health services in all areas (restricted during the lockdown), pharmacies,
• restoration of full operation of all supermarkets and stores, bakeries, markets and delivery services, food and restaurant facilities,
• tertiary education, schools, mass meetings, sports events, leisure activities,
• air travel (dependent of course on the airline and destination country),
• Measures to ensure food, energy and equipment sufficiency for the country, as well as supplies of imported drugs,
• Other areas.
The phases may be time-based (some areas opening immediately after the end of lockdown, others later), regionally (differently for Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega), consideration for special groups such as the aged, children.
3. TO PREVENT RESURGENCE OF COVID-19 by continued and close monitoring of cases based on widespread testing of the population for positive contamination and antibodies, with the purpose of tracking contacts, eventual quarantine of infected persons etc.
4.KEEPING in-phase with WHO, Commission de l’Ocean Indien, SADEC, AU, EU, scientific organizations, professional bodies and countries such as China, Norway, South Korea, which have had the experience of DECONFINEMENT, for using their expertise as well as for supplies of COVID-19 PPE and eventually of drugs and vaccine.
Dr Michael ATCHIA
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