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Omicron Variant: A Surge, A Big Mess In The Schools

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Mauritius has recorded 281 new cases and 83 new admissions in regional hospitals as of Wednesday, 16 February. In Rodrigues, 338 cases have been recorded, bringing the total number of active cases to 3,680, making a total of 6,717 positive cases recorded in the island since the outbreak, of which 3037 have been cured. In Rodrigues, the fear is that 1 on 4 Rodriguans will be infected with this rising trend. The tenth district has recorded its fifth death, the latest being Nicodem Albert, 92, who died in the isolation centre of Mont-Lubin on Tuesday 15. According to Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal, the positive cases are almost all Omicron cases, which are more contagious but less severe. The cases in schools are not being communicated, but the situation in schools has become so chaotic that schools are almost empty. Online classes and staggered grading are already a reality in many schools, despite no approval or orders from the education minister, Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun.

Empty schools and online courses favoured – Back to square one?

This is not a ministerial decision. Parents have taken the lead in not sending their children to school in the face of this increase in cases in schools, despite the adoption of barrier measures, that is, an average of 10 cases per week and per school, the poor management decried in schools, the fiasco of the Testing Team composed of 91 Trainees, but especially after the death of the student of Sir Razack Mohammed SSS, Jibraan Chataaroo aged 16. A situation understood especially by private and paid schools that already favour online and also staggered classes.

Could this be a return to square one? In any case, everything points towards this possibility. The Union of Rectors and Deputy Rectors of State Secondary Schools is calling for a 15-day temporary closure publicly and in an official letter sent to the Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry of Education on Monday, 14 February, which is also composed of a long list of grievances and complaints headed by the lack of buses, the testing team and pandemic management in the schools.

This demand is also being made by the more concerned members of civil society who are calling for an immediate decision by the Minister of Education Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun. “We are asking the Minister to move towards closing down schools so that more students are not infected… This is about the health of our children. We have to put our differences aside. The contamination is increasing, we must take a decision… We need a state of emergency policy,” said Imam Zaheer Peerbux, president of the Young Protection Society, at a press conference in Port Louis on Wednesday, 16 February. He called for the reintroduction of ‘stagerred classing’.

Vaccination- bigger interest in Moderna

Vaccination continues to progress. Mauritius has 993,706 people who have received the first dose, 949,008, the second and 419,822 people the third/booster dose. Mauritius has 993,706 people who have received the first dose, 949,008, the second and 419,822 people the third/booster dose. So, from this Saturday, fully vaccinated status will only apply to those who have received the third dose and are listed on their vaccination cards or digital pass. There are some places that will no longer be accessible to the unvaccinated. The Moderna vaccine is already being administered in first, second and third doses to people aged 18-39 years. The inoculation for the first and second dose is done in the 5 regional hospitals without conditions but the third dose is done in alphabetical order from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm, in the following six centres Plaine-Verte Youth Centre, Riviere-du-Rempart Youth Centre, Riche-Mare Community Centre, Omnicane Business Gateway in Plaine-Magnien, Paillote Municipal Gymnasium and in Medina at Uniciti Office Park. There is general interest in the Moderna, as of Wednesday, 16 February they were all packed and the organisation was even criticised by those involved. Vaccinations for students are done every day and for this Thursday and Friday, it will be the second Pfizer dose administration in 8 colleges.

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