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Covid-19 Bill will provide necessary legal impetus to enforce post-lockdown measures

Date: May 02, 2020
Domain:Health; Judiciary; Economy & Finance; Business & Industry
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen
 

GIS  – 02 May, 2020: The Covid-19 Bill making provision for the necessary legal impetus to enforce post-lockdown measures, as well as to protect the country from a second wave of the Covid-19 infections, will soon be debated in the National Assembly.

Details about the Bill were provided, yesterday, by the Attorney General and Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, during a national television programme focusing on the phase plan about the partial reopening of the economy as from 15 May 2020.

The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, the Minister of Tourism, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, and the spokesperson of the National Communication Committee on Covid-19, Dr Zouberr Joomaye, were also present.

The Attorney General underlined that the Covid-19 Bill will make provision for, amongst others, the mandatory wearing of masks in public places. Persons not respecting social distancing will be subject to fines and penalties, he added. With regard to the return to work in phases, Mr Gobin emphasised that only persons in possession of a Work Access Permit (WAP) will be allowed to move.

The WAP system is being digitalised, he said, to ensure that all persons including public officers, carers, baby-sitters, planters, fishermen and the self-employed resuming work as from 15 May are in possession of the proper authorisation. As for the education sector, he added, resumption of classes for the Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary will be implemented phase-wise as from 01 August 2020.

With regard to senior citizens, the Attorney General pointed out that they are most vulnerable to Covid-19 adding that they will be able to go out only in exceptional cases, in particular to stock up on supplies, or if they hold travel permits. Distribution of the monthly old age pension at home and medical visits by Social Security doctors will be continued.  Special desks in banks will also be set up for the elderly and they will be able to access public transport only on an alphabetical basis and outside peak hours.

Gradual return to normalcy ofhealth care services

Dr Jagutpal, for his part, stated that all other health care services and regular treatment of patients will gradually return to normalcy as from 15 May. He pointed out that an appointment system will be implemented for people seeking medical care so as to avoid overcrowding in hospitals.

As for other sanitary measures, he emphasised that all Mauritians should continue to practice good hygiene habits such as washing their hands regularly with soap or hydro-alcoholic gel; wearing masks in public places and respecting the rules of social distancing.  Mass testing for Covid-19 and sensitisation campaigns will be further encouraged to contain all risks of infection, he added.

Financial support

Minister Padayachy outlined the various measures implemented by the Bank of Mauritius and the Government to minimise layoffs across various sectors and support vulnerable families. These are the Wage Assistant Scheme paid to 12 000 enterprises affecting 250 000 employees; Self-Employed Assistance Scheme; and moratorium on capital and interest on housing loans. A recovery plan, he said, is in preparation to curb the negative impacts of Covid-19 on the Mauritian economy adding that other support schemes will be maintained following the extension of the curfew.

Other important measures are as follows:

  • Gyms, restaurants, shops and markets, casinos and clubs as well as commercial centres will remain closed. Access to public beach and holding of socio-cultural activities at large scale are strictly prohibited
  • Opening hours of supermarkets is being extended to 20 00 hrs
  • Banks, bakeries and butcheries will operate in alphabetical order whereas restaurants and fast-food outlets will do so through take away, delivery services and drive-thru
  • All public buses and vehicles should be disinfected and a marking system will be applied to respect social distancing and same applies for the Metro which will operate with a limited number of passengers
  • A taxi will be allowed to carry only three passengers at a time
  • Motorcyclists will not be allowed to carry other passengers except close family members

 

#ResOuLakaz     #BeSafeMoris

Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: gis@govmu.org  Website: http://gis.govmu.org  Mobile App: Search Gov

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