Dr Michael ATCHIA
Many countries are planning soon to lift the lockdown and restart people movement and work. With what strategy, as from when and how? STRATEGY. 1.MAINTENANCE 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), adapted to work and going out situation; AND 2. REOPENING OF THE COUNTRY, IN PHASES, with the twin objective of re-launching the economy, liberating people while PREVENTING THE RESURGENCE OF COVID-19. We have a great advantage in that Mauritians have already learnt how to do confinement and social distancing, many children and youth have successfully adapted to online learning and many groups are efficiently practicing tele -conferencing and work. AS FROM WHEN? France on 11th May, India on May 4th, South Africa and Austria on1st of May. Denmark has already started its deconfinement, in stages, and Germany plans to do soon. China and South Korea have already deconfined with very strict conditions (such as ALL citizens wearing masks, electronic tracking using each one’s smart phone etc).
There are also some extreme views: the health minister of UK Nadine Dorris said the complete end of lockdown may be 18 MONTHS away, i.e. by the end of 2021 that is not until a vaccine is available and everybody vaccinated. Mauritius on May 5th, under a strategy which is now being defined. As the main speaker for the Government’s Communication task force said last night (16.4.20), the islands of the Indian Ocean, due to their isolation and strong measures of confinement, are doing very well in containing further infections. HOW? Mauritius can give the lead again by preparing in detail the end of lockdown, with appropriate measures in ALL fields of living, using the best advice from medical and scientific advisers, from economic, legal, political as well as law enforcement thinkers. The key criteria are to take evidence-based decisions, which can be reviewed as measures are implemented.
All measures to be explained widely through MBCTV and the press, as is being done now by Dr Zouberr Joomaye and colleagues. All can contribute ideas. For example someone proposed as a measure to decrease people density in offices and factories to declare a 6-day week of work, Monday to Saturday. Half the staff would work on 3 days (Mondays/Wednesdays and Fridays) the other half on the 3 other days (Tuesday/Thursdays and Saturdays), while working on-line from home for the 2 other days. A similar system for schools, size of classes and school buses. We have about 2 weeks left to fully prepare the deconfinement, while learning daily about BEST PRACTICES from other countries doing it. Then reach agreement at Government level and, especially, explain and make known to ALL the measures retained. Not only can Mauritius vanquish CV19 but we give a model to the world of how to do it.