The Indian ocean archipelago nation looks to revive tourism sector battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Mauritius began vaccinating its frontline workers as it looks to revive its hard-hit tourism sector. The first jab was administered to an on-duty doctor at Victoria Hospital, located in the central town of Quatre-Bornes. The vaccine being administered is being developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, and is manufactured in India under the name of Covishield. India donated an initial batch of 100,000 doses, which were ceremonially handed over to the Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Friday. An additional 200,000 doses are expected to arrive from India by the end of March. Mauritius also purchased 240,000 vaccine doses through the Covax program.
Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal indicated the inoculation campaign would initially target frontline healthcare workers treating patients infected by Covid-19, and those meeting passengers at the airport. With tourism being a significant contributor to its economy, the country is in a hurry to open its borders to visitors as soon as possible. However, visitors would need to undergo a mandatory test for Covid-19 before quarantining for two weeks. With a population of 1.3 million, Mauritius has recorded 568 cases and 10 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the health Minister, the Indian Ocean archipelago nation plans to vaccinate 60 percent of its population in 2021.