A general survey of the ways different countries have dealt /are dealing with the pandemic, successfully (like UK, Israel, New Zealand, Mauritius before march 2021, USA, China and others) or with huge failures lead us to propose these actions for continued successful control of the pandemic by Mauritius for the period MAY-DECEMBER 2021.
What are the main problems? A high level Committee must develop and communicate a clear all inclusive Government Strategy to fight COVID-19. Based on the scientific evidence available, the main one being that we must vaccinate everyone, ASAP.
TEN ELEMENTS FOR THIS STRATEGY.
1. Full SANITARY RE-OPENING ( RÉOUVERTURE SANITAIRE) by mid-MAY 2021 for all regions of Mauritius and for ALL activities, including shipping and air travel, tourism, schooling, worship and of course all agricultural, service, industrial and economic activities.
2. Detailed list of precautions, obligatory for everyone at all times, to prevent re-infection and maintain the COVID-SAFE status of Mauritius. Detailed list of on-line actions (payments, training, social communications by Whatspp, Facebook, etc.) which must be encouraged. Action against fake news.
3.TWO WEEKS to prepare these protocols with the collaboration of business and industry, the press, health and medical expertise, scientists, unions, the police, for the Government high level Committee). Work out such protocols SECTOR by SECTOR as well as general guidelines for ALL (as per WHO recommendations of for sanitisation, wearing of masks, distancing, testing etc). Publish them massively in the form of pamphlets and posters to inform and educate everyone to take note and respect, adding major fines and systems of control and enforcement.
4. Maintain the excellent mass testing, and when a positive case is detected, equally massive contact tracing, as practiced by the Ministry of Health, which has ensured the virus has not spread as it did in the USA, UK, India, South Africa and elsewhere.
5. Rapid reaching of herd immunity by MASSIVE round-the-clock vaccination of almost the entire population.
6. For which we need URGENT major action by Government and even the private sector to obtain 2.2 million doses of Covid vaccine, for 1.1 million people (minus number of doses already obtained and used). The PM and Ministers, the political leaders of the Opposition, our representatives in the main capitals of the world must get together, in this state of emergency we are in, to NEGOCIATE and ORDER these 2.2 million doses of vaccines. From UK, Russia, China, via COVAX, India and new sources. We order and pay for it, certainly NOT just wait for new donations. The supply of vaccines is a major problem, since we failed to order enough, before all non-vaccine producing nations scrambling to secure vaccines.
7.A new crop of practical research and innovative ideas, dedicated to find sustainable, practical, often-low-cost answers to problems of energy and climate change, clean technologies and waste management, health, communication and transport, education, biodiversity conservation etc, to develop new products, new travel routes etc
8. A committee of scientists, medical personnel and researchers to monitor international scene as well as chosen national actions, in order to identify the latest findings and best practices relating to COVID 19, to different vaccines, their efficacy and duration etc.
9. Finally: It’s a new world! Haven’t you noticed? The world order has changed from what it was in 2019, to a new Covid +post-Covid world.
Today, in the modern world, in business, government and services, hierarchy, control and command must give way to synergy, consensus, group-work and empowerment.
10. Government by deliberation, consultation, participation and consensus, leading to scientific data-based decision-making. In this period of crisis a definite NO to the present nu bann and zot, the opposition. Each can contribute to finding the best solutions, the welfare of the population remaining THE PRIME OBJECTIVE. And NO to attempts at limiting popular freedoms of expression, an essential element for survival.
Our main overall objective remains the welfare of humans and conservation of the Planet’s environment and its biodiversity.
Dr Michael ATCHIA
(President, Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology)
(Past Programme Director, United Nations)
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