'The High-Level Committee on COVID-19 has, since 1st March 2021 to date, met on 29 occasions. It has been mandated by Cabinet to coordinate and monitor actions taken by Ministries, Departments and other stakeholders in relation to the national response to the COVID-19'.
The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, was replying to the Private Notice Question (PNQ), this morning, in the National Assembly. The PNQ pertained to the number of times the High-Level Committee on the COVID-19 has met since 01 March 2021 to date and whether decisions taken thereat are henceforth recorded.
He emphasised that with the resurgence of the COVID-19 in the local community on 05 March 2021, the High-Level Committee has resumed its daily meetings. He recalled that following the detection of positive cases of the COVID-19 on 18 March 2020 in Mauritius, the High-Level Committee met on a daily basis until the situation was under control. Thereafter, the High-Level Committee was meeting on a weekly basis, he said.
The Prime Minister also clarified that the High-Level Committee being a coordinating body, each Minister forming part of the Committee is required to ensure that recommendations pertaining to his Ministry and Departments falling in his portfolio are documented and submitted to Cabinet for further consideration and approval. Moreover, he stated that all decisions taken at the level of Cabinet are recorded and transmitted to the relevant Ministries for necessary actions at their end. Hence, the need for having formal minutes of proceedings of meetings of the High-Level Committee does not arise, he added.
'In view of the resurgence of the virus and the need for expedient action, the High-Level Committee may be called upon to take urgent policy decisions for the protection of the population and which are subsequently ratified by Cabinet', Mr Jugnauth underlined. He thus highlighted that issues pertaining to the closing of borders, imposing temporary restrictions of movement, preventive and sanitary measures and the demarcation of red zones are some of the decisions taken by the High-Level Committee and subsequently approved by Cabinet.
He recalled that the High-Level Committee was instituted by Cabinet on 31 January 2020 to monitor the situation regarding the outbreak of the new coronavirus and the precautionary measures to be taken to safeguard the population against any related health risks. This decision was taken following the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020 declaring the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern as there were cases confirmed outside China.
The High-Level Committee is mandated to take urgent policy decisions based on recommendations of relevant Ministries/Departments, whenever so required, underscored the Prime Minister. According to him, it also served as platform to monitor the evolution of the pandemic at local and international levels and also for rapid sharing of key information among different Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders to enable a coordinated and scaled up national response against the pandemic.
He conveyed his sincere condolences to the families afflicted by the demise of their close relatives due to the COVID-19 and urged the entire population to act responsibly and follow the advice and guidance issued by the health authorities to break the transmission chain. He likewise expressed gratitude to all front-liners, including doctors, nurses, personnel of the contact tracing teams, police officers, employees in other essential services for their commitment, dedication, courage and professionalism in these difficult times.
'I am convinced that the Mauritian patriotic spirit will prevail and we will, once again, defeat the COVID-19. The Government will, in the national interest, do whatever it takes, to protect and safeguard the health of the population and save lives and livelihood, which remain our topmost priority,' he concluded.