This Inter Action Review report for the COVID-19 outbreak in Mauritius documents and assesses the country’s capacity to respond to the outbreak and identifies the best practices, strengths, gaps and challenges of the national response. Areas requiring improvements or sustained actions have been identified across the 9 strategic pillars of World Health Organisation (WHO)’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and an additional pillar for the country’s response beyond health. On an overall, the review aims to enhance and sustain the national response with a particular focus on strengthening the health systems.
Following the detection of a cluster of pneumonia patients in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China in December 2019 and the identification of a novel coronavirus as the cause in January 2020; the WHO Director General declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on the 30 January 2020. The whole world was on alert including Mauritius which was classified as priority one country by WHO due to its tight links with China, high volume of international travellers and high population density. Mauritius increased its preparedness by reinforcing surveillance of passengers at the points of entry. With the alarming levels of transmission of COVID-19 on the global level, WHO characterised the spread as a pandemic.
Mauritius was not spared from the pandemic. The first three cases, all imported cases, were detected on the 18 March 2020. The outbreak quickly evolved from sporadic cases to clusters to local transmission and was contained after 39 days on the 26 April 2020 with no local cases recorded since then. Despite the relatively number of cases and mitigated outbreak, the pandemic quickly became an issue beyond health and affected multiple sectors. A whole-of-society mobilisation was observed with the quick response of the different UN Country Team, the Development Partners Group, private sector, NGOs and civil society.