GIS – 20 May 2020: The key objective of the recently enacted COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 and the Quarantine Act 2020, isto lay the foundations for restarting the country’s economy within appropriate public health parameters.
A broad array of 56 existing primary enactments have been amended under the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, while criminal penalties for breaching public health and quarantine legislation have been toughened under the Quarantine Act 2020, recalled the Minister of Land and Transport, Mr Alan Ganoo,the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, and the Attorney-General and Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, last night in a televised programme on the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.
Speaking about Government’s priority to preserving employment, Minister Ganoo stated that as at date, some Rs 8 billion have been disbursed for the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme and the Wage Assistance Scheme. He also listed out the measures put in place by Government to help enterprises facing difficulties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a bid to protect the population during the crisis, Government has also invested massively, to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, in the acquisition of Personal Protective Equipment and has set up flu clinics in the five Regional Hospitals, he added.
While lauding the bold measures implemented, Mr Ganoo highlighted that no new infection cases have been detected for the last 22 days. He stressed that the two Acts aim to strengthen Mauritius’preparedness for and response to the COVID-19 and to any future pandemic and that the amendments brought under these new pieces of legislation, are necessary to prevent a resurgence of the novel coronavirus infections which could result in extremely serious consequences.
As regards the measures taken to relieve the 1 400 school vans and 1 200 contract buses owners, Mr Ganoo stated that they are entitled for the Self-Employed Assistance Scheme, adding that leasing companies have also extended a moratorium period for their loan repayment. Moreover, vehicle owners whose Motor Vehicle Licenses have expired or will expire by the end of the month, have till August this year to make the necessary payment and no surcharge will be applicable. He also recalled that vehicle owners can renew their certificate of fitness, as from 21 May 2020, by respecting the alphabetical order.
For his part, Minister Bodha reassured the population that Government is sensible to the plight of some 3 000 Mauritians stranded abroad in different countries adding that an orderly repatriation exercise is being carried out to that end in order of priority. Hence, flights from Mauritius to London and Paris, to South India and Mumbai, and to Madagascar, Australia, and Reunion Island will soon be organised.
Attorney General Gobin spoke of the importance of the two pieces of legislation especially as regards administrative procedures for payment of bills. He stated that the two Acts are an eloquent testimony of the unflinching determination with which Government is handling the COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking about the Budget 2020-2021 which will be presented on 4 June 2020, Mr Gobin said that it will be a stimulus budget to help relaunch the economy. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener especially as regards the healthcare system and the need to be self-sufficient. According to him, the agro-industries and Small and Medium Enterprises sectors will definitely need further revamping.
COVID-19 situation in Mauritius as at 19 May 2020
• No new positive cases registered since the last 22 days
• The number of passengers in quarantine stands at 149
• The total number of tests conducted is 92 764, including 25 626 PCR tests and 67 138 Rapid Antigen tests
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