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Spread Of Omicron And The BA.2; Rodrigues Reports 6th Covid Death

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The decrease is slight but the concern is growing. On Thursday 17 February, Mauritius has recorded 202 new cases and 62 admissions, including 5 at the New ENT Hospital and 57 in regional hospitals as compared to 281 positive cases and 83 admissions on Wednesday 16 February. For Rodrigues, the rate of the day is 333 new cases against 338 the day before. The fear around the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant and the fate of students are the biggest concerns at the moment. Minister Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun, on the other hand, told the press that “closing and opening schools is not a joke“.

Both Mauritius and Rodrigues affected

The total number of positive cases since 26 January in Rodrigues is 7050. The number of active cases stands at 3,744, with 3,302 cases cured. In Mauritius, 28,891 infections have been recorded since March 2021, of which 25,631 cases have been cured. Vaccination is seen as the saving factor and at the moment, the public, front liners and the authorities are working hard to increase the rate of vaccination of the third dose before the unchallenged deadline of 19 February. To date, 994,093 people have received the first dose, 952,515 the second and 427,908 the third/booster dose. Both Mauritius and Rodrigues are more than 90% infected with the Omicron variant. But so far, there is no indication whether it is BA.1 or BA.2. With these recent increases, the assumption is that the BA.2 sub-variant is twice as contagious but less virulent than the BA.1 and Delta variants but also more resistant to vaccines. This sub-variant is already present in 74 countries worldwide. Panic buying is back, with many pharmacies reporting shortages of rapid antigen tests and Covid 19 drugs. In these unstable cyclonic times, the Ministry of Health has also recorded an increase in cases of seasonal influenza.

 Dr Gaud’s special session in Rodrigues

The great fear of the Rodriguans is that one on four Rodriguans will end up being contaminated. We learn on Thursday evening that there is a 6th death from covid. Edwin Félicité 65 years old, living Grand la Fouche Mangue, he was in isolation at the center of Mont lubin. Dr. Catherine Gaud travelled to Rodrigues to assess the situation of the contamination and the pandemic management as well as to determine with the concerned executives of the Health Commission how to learn to live with the virus. What is an advantage for the tenth district is the fact that they are facing a massive contamination of Covid 19, two years after its explosion? So it will be easier for them to benefit from strategies that have already been proven to work. On Thursday 17 February, she conducted a working session with surgeons, gynaecologists, anaesthetists and nurses on the management of positive patients. The session at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital conference room was also attended by Dr Nuckchedy and Dr Abeeluck. The aim of the mission is for Rodrigues to become self-sufficient in managing this crisis. A report of this mission, as well as the list of recommendations of health professionals, will be communicated upon Dr. Catherine Gaud’s return to Mauritius this Friday.

School closure claimed by all parties

The death of Jibran Chataroo, the 16-year-old former Sir Razack Mohammed SSS student, who tested positive for Covid 19, and the case of the 15-year-old positive schoolgirl who was admitted to the intensive care unit at New ENT Hospital to be placed on life support, is a cause for concern and reaction from parents. Despite the preventive and screening measures set up by the Ministries of Health and Education, schools are increasingly empty, online classing is already underway in private and fee-paying schools, the Testing Team announces being in Burn Out mode and, above all, with an average of 10 cases per day per school, the unions in the education sector are asking for a closure of schools for a minimum of 15 days and the reinstatement of Online Classes for all so as not to interfere with the school programme and also the return of Staggered Classes for the next school year. It is to be reminded that an official letter has been served to the Senior Chief Executive of the concerned ministry since Monday 14 February.

Leela Devi Dookun Luchoomun: “Close down? And what next?”

Given the lesser danger of the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant and since there is no guarantee of no positive cases in the school environment, closing schools would be unnecessary. This was supported by the Minister of Education who was interviewed on Thursday afternoon, February 17, during a ceremony to hand over the keys to the beneficiaries of housing at the Lavender Residence in Dagotiere where the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth was also present. “A closure of schools is not an issue. According to the WHO study, we are reaching our peak of cases soon. So, do we close schools for a fortnight now? And after that? We’re going to have to open these schools, is that going to change in a fortnight?” According to the Ministry’s analysis of the evolution of the infection, the problem does not stem from the schools. For Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, “closing and opening schools is not a joke. We need to ensure educational continuity and learning for students. They have been out of school for too long,” said the Minister.

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