Public Health Order restrictions extended to January 28, 2021 |13 January 2021
The Public Health Order enforced as of December 29, 2020 with the aim of curtailing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is to remain in place for the next two weeks until January 28.
The order, comprising numerous measures including the closure of certain categories of businesses, was initially announced to last 14 days up until January 13, but was subsequently reviewed as the number of community infection rose sharply on January 3, 2021, with additional measures to further restrict movement.
As per a communiqué issued by the Ministry of Health yesterday afternoon, the Public Health Emergency Operations Committee (PHEOC) has reviewed the evolution of the Covid-19 surge, the incidence of new cases, the epidemiological profile and distribution of the cases and believe that the restrictions as it stands should be extended for another two weeks, for numerous reasons, including that the number of new cases being detected on both Praslin and La Digue is increasing, and more new cases are expected through contact-tracing.
Furthermore, the ministry is confident there are certainly asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases in the community and that while it would appear that the main surge in the number of cases was on January 5 and 6, new cases are being detected daily in multiple locations, and maintaining the restrictions on movement would be greatly beneficial towards reducing the chain of transmission.
Among other reasons stated for maintaining the order are that the all Ministry of Health (MoH) designated isolation facilities are full or near capacity and time is required to wait out the recovery and management of those in isolation, depending on how the disease progresses, and the laboratory needs time to clear backlog and test remaining contacts. In a bid to deal with the increased load, the contact tracing capacity is being reinforced.
As per the communiqué, restrictions are to remain in place also for the following reasons:
• Cases are appearing in critical manufacturing and service areas and MoH needs to give them more attention for early containment.
• The vaccination roll-out has just started and further surge may compromise staff allocation to the programme.
• Two weeks will allow all health care workers to complete the first dose of vaccination along with other frontline workers in the country.
• Return to school, while there is still community transmission, will compromise the safety of children and staff and fuel a resurgence in the number of cases.
Everyone is advised to keep interactions to immediate households (the persons you live with) only and to avoid gatherings and crowds. Continue to respect and practice the different measures in place to help stop the spread of Covid-19:
• Wear a mask in public places and where physical distancing cannot be maintained
• Practise hand hygiene regularly
• Avoid gatherings and crowds
• Avoid sharing objects
• Practise physical distancing of more than 1 metre.
Laura Pillay/Press release from the MInistry of Health