Mauritius Opens COVID-19 Testing Center on Rodrigues Island
The Mauritius Ministry of Health and Wellness recently opened a COVID-19 testing center on the remote island of Rodrigues.
Opened in late August, the center is on Mont Lubin, about 623 kilometers east of the main island of Mauritius. The center was opened with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Reinsurance Corp.
The center is meant to strengthen surveillance measures on the island of about 42,000 people. Rodrigues is part of the republic of Mauritius.
“COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century crisis that has taken a terrible toll on individuals, families, communities and economies,” WHO representative Dr. Indrajit Hazarika said in a news release. “The rise in the number of cases and deaths worldwide is a clear sign that we are not out of the woods yet. Across the globe, the pandemic continues to put further pressure on stretched health systems and health workers.”
Hazarika also emphasized that the pandemic continues to impact people’s lives and livelihoods. With a population of more than 1.25 million, Mauritius is among five African nations that have endured a sixth wave of COVID-19 infections.
“We must do all in our means to stay ahead of the virus,” Hazarika said. “We need to strengthen surveillance including testing and sequencing among others, for a coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic.”
Mauritius is an island just more than 1,130 kilometers east of Madagascar and, like Rodrigues, is a popular tourist destination known for its tropical climate, pristine beaches and waters that invite diving and snorkeling. As in other tourist-friendly areas, COVID-19 harmed the tourism sectors of both islands.
Mauritius recorded a deficit of about $122 billion in inflow of foreign currency from 2020 to 2022, due mainly to a considerable decrease in earnings from tourism, exports and financial services, Renganaden Padayachy, the country’s minister of finance, economic planning and development, said in a news release.
However, air connectivity to the island improved greatly by mid-September, according to Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. Tourist arrivals were just more than 40,000 in January but increased to more than 86,600 a month by August.
“Amidst the pandemic, the mindset of travelers has changed, and they are now looking for more meaningful experiences and safety before selecting a destination,” Bundhun told traveldailymedia.com. “The safety of the travelers and the population is a priority. We are eager to welcome travelers to experience the island and get immersed in the culture, nature and Mauritian hospitality.”
Bundhun said tourism officials adopted new technologies to reach consumers during the pandemic.
“Easy access to useful information on the destination is of prime importance as this influences the traveler’s decision,” Bundhun told the website. “Digitalization of our marketing strategies which started pre-COVID has now reached cruising speed.”