Mauritius lifts most Covid restrictions
A view from the turquoise sea adjacent to a green forest on the exotic island of Indian Ocean in Mauritius on March 22, 2022. Kenan Irtak / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Kenan Irtak / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)
(AFP) - Mauritius has reopened nightclubs and bars, lifted restrictions on gatherings, and scrapped a public mask mandate as it eased Covid-19 measures in the Indian Ocean island paradise popular with holidaymakers.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said Mauritius had achieved a very high rate of vaccination and could "enter a new phase" of the pandemic more than two years after it began.
"Difficult decisions had to be taken, including total containment with its consequences on the economy," the prime minister said in an address broadcast late Tuesday on national radio.
"We have not been in a hurry to reopen our borders and it has been done in stages and we have noted that it is a formula that has worked. Now, it is with confidence that we can enter a new phase."
Masks would still be required in some indoor settings such as health facilities and public transport, but no longer required elsewhere.
Restrictions on public gatherings and crowds at weddings, funerals and places of worship were lifted, he said.
Bars and nightclubs can reopen, punters can return to horse racing arenas, and picnics can resume at beaches after being prohibited.
Jugnauth urged the public to take precautions regarding mask wearing to help contain the spread of Covid, even if mandatory measures had been lifted.
Mauritius had fully opened its doors to international visitors at the start of October, hoping to rebuild its vital tourism industry after long months of isolation because of the pandemic.
But a month later it reimposed a raft of new Covid-19 curbs after cases surged.
© Agence France-Presse