This present day marks two important chapters in Mauritius' history, with the implementation of the first phase in easing the lockdown introduced on 20 March 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, with some sectors resuming their business activities, and the introduction of the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the Quarantine Bill into the National Assembly.
The Minister of Tourism, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, made the above statement, this evening, during the daily press briefing of the National Communication Committee on Covid-19, at the New Treasury Building, in Port Louis.
The Minister reiterated the commitment and responsibility of Government to act in the best interest of the population. He urged citizens to demonstrate a sense of solidarity and unity, an essential factor for the country's recovery from the impacts of this pandemic.
The key objectives of the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the Quarantine Bill were underpinned by the Minister. The new legislations, he emphasised, will address several issues that arose during the curfew period. These include: the collect of rents for commercial buildings and properties, infected people not reporting their health conditions, and those not abiding by the curfew order.
The Minister observed that Mauritius has successfully managed to control the propagation of the COVID-19 across its territory. This feat can be attributed to the bold measures taken by Government and to the sense of responsibility and discipline of the population in adhering to the national confinement protocol.
Government, he added, is thankful for the contribution and sacrifice of all frontliners including the Police Force and the healthcare personnel for their concerted effort and dedication in ensuring the health safety of the population against the COVID-19. He called for continued discipline from those who are about to resume work.
For her part, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah, spoke about the International Day of Family celebrated on 15 May 2020. This day, she highlighted, marks an opportune time to celebrate the key role of the family as a social institution, also the theme marking this year's event.
The Minister underlined the key roles of women who are both the backbone of key societal institutions such as the family, as well as significant contributors to the socioeconomic progress of the country. They upheld their roles as heads of family during the lockdown and will be called upon to contribute to the post-COVID- 19 prevailing challenges, she pointed out
Minister Koonjoo-Shah also deplored that during the lockdown, women and children continued to be victims of violence. In fact, 349 cases of domestic violence against women and 463 cases of violence against children have been reported to the Ministry, during the period of 20 March to 13 May 2020. The Ministry in collaboration with the Police Force intervened in all cases reported and the necessary support and protection were offered to the victims.
Moreover, 37 children were tested to COVID-19 prior to being placed into shelters. My Ministry is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to have all shelter residents and employees screened, she further stated.
Also present at the press briefing, the Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo, underscored that the country has successfully stepped past the first phase of its battle against Covid-19. This has been achieved by protecting the health of the population, and now, the country will undertake a second crucial phase which is the economic recovery and maintaining employment for all, he stated.