Going Full-in

No More Shopping

As of today, Mauritius is in strict lockdown:

Following the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, which now stands at forty-two and two death cases, an essential measure, that is the complete lockdown of all supermarkets, shops and bakeries till 31 March 2020, has been applied with the objective to protect citizens as several cases of non-respect of the curfew has been noted.

The nomenclature chosen is not really consistent, but I guess it’s evolving along the volatile situation. We first had a lockdown, then a curfew, and now a complete lockdown.

The Prime Minister noted that despite the curfew order in force since yesterday, Monday 23 March 2020 at 20:00 hrs local, many individuals are not respecting the laws as regards the national confinement, thus the need to implement this complete lockdown.

No surprise here. Carelessness and stupidity always prevail.

Mr Jugnauth recalled that this measure is being taken so as to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 across Mauritius and to make citizens respect the national confinement protocol. He urged the population to stay at home as the country is dangerously vulnerable presently, cautioning that this is the only way that the highly contagious virus will be contained.

I just listened to The Daily podcast of the New York Times, and in the reporter’s view, many countries would really – really – love to turn the clock back, and take this kind of drastic measure relatively early in the outbreak. I think it’s the right move, it must be tried at least.

Numbers

We also have some more details about the testing and case tracking:

Dr Jagutpal also dwelt on the preparedness plan put in place by his Ministry to ensure that all suspected as well as positive cases of Covid-19 including all those in quarantine are being taken care of in isolation to avoid contamination. He recalled that some 676 tests have been conducted so far and 361 came out positive. It is projected that 4,000 tests will be carried out and ultimately be increased to 100,000.

Mauritius’ numbers are still low enough to be able to do case tracking, which is helped by the total closure of the borders:

As regards contact tracing he recalled that out of the 354 cases conducted, 213 are negative while 17 are suspected cases.

Sources: Reliable and Others

The spokesperson of the Committee also expressed concerns as to the increasing number of fake news reported on social media network especially on Facebook which has an impact on public anxiety. He cautioned that severe sanctions will be taken against those breaching the rules, namely a penalty of Rs 1 million and ten years imprisonment.

Breaching the lockdown can get you six months in prison, spewing false messages on Facebook ten years. Now we’re talking.

In general, not only here on the island, it’s no surprise that social networks, in particular Facebook, as well as direct communication channels and groups, such as WhatsApp, are flooded with simply wrong information and advice. Anxious people crave for every bit of it. Which comes to no surprise, given the many often contradicting messages governments and their agencies all over the world are sending out. Political maneuvering aside, such messages often simply reflect the current uncertainty regarding the medical and epidemiological knowledge about the virus and the disease itself, as well as the effectiveness of the different kinds and extents of measures. Most people are not used, and not capable, to live with uncertainty – “we simply don’t know yet” is often not well received, even if it’s simply the truth. Welcome to the world of science.

Have you heard, or read, about holding your breath to test for the virus, or sipping water every 15 minutes to kill the virus, or… and so on? I am sure this kind of messages are mostly distributed with well-meaning intentions, and you receive them from friends or family members. Alas, they are wrong, and don’t help anyone in the current situation. Some might be even dangerous. Such as taking very high dosages of Vitamin D to bolster the immune system.

Today’s The Guardian’s Today in Focus podcast covers the topic: Going viral: fake news and Covid-19. Solid coverage as usual. And I could listen to host Anushka Asthana all day long anyway, for her English alone.

Bottom line, apart from not believing all the BS, don’t distribute it any further, unless you have checked the original sources. Not being able to find a reliable source is a good BS indicator. And a reliable source is the WHO, or the ECDC, or a reputable news organisation, such the The Guardian, the BBC, the New York Times, the NZZ. Never the brother of your girlfriend’s cousin, who works at this or the other hospital. Hearsay and water cooler gossip is not a source for reliable information in a serious situation.


  1. Note that this news was posted before the one about the strict lockdown, which refers to 42 cases. ↩︎