Mauritius has recorded what could be considered its first local case of Covid-19 since April 26. The patient had returned from Australia at the end of October, and was tested positive on arrival. He was therefore handled as per the established protocol. That is, he was admitted at the ENT Hospital for further monitoring and management.
At the end of the period of quarantine at 14 days he was tested negative and therefore sent home. However, several days later feeling unwell he attended one private clinic, and was found to be positive. He was therefore sent back to ENT Hospital. In the meantime, staff of the clinic have been tested and have been placed in quarantine. Contact tracing is being carried out as well to identify any case that may have been contaminated.
It is a fact that several countries that had managed the Covid situation very well at the first outset of the disease are now facing a surge, and have had to impose restrictions, and even complete second lockdowns. It would be recalled that shortly into the pandemic, this possibility had been evoked, given the uncertainties about the behaviour of the virus and the difficulties in controlling its spread. It was felt that there may well be periods of lockdown followed by lifting of the lockdown – but we were warned that this pattern could be repeated as the pandemic unfolded. The term ‘rolling lockdown’ was used to refer to this phenomenon.
It now seems that this anticipated pattern has materialized in a number of countries – the rich European ones in particular. Till date we seemed to have been able to stave off the spectre of another lockdown after our initial one. Our economic woes are dire enough for us to not want another lockdown. So the question that arises is whether we are doing enough to control the situation. Undeniably we have a good track record compared to many other richer and more advanced countries, but that places on us the onus and the hope of remaining Covid-free.
Elsewhere, in the North hemisphere, winter is coming, and this is the influenza period for both Europe and North America. This is likely to aggravate the Covid situation.
We are entering summer and therefore less likely to develop the cold. But we still have to be vigilant and to protect ourselves by implementing the recommended measures – namely, social distancing, washing our hands with plain soap and water, using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching, wearing a mask, and keep mentally strong.
Is there a need to revisit the protocol that is in place? How reliable are the tests being carried out? The population needs to be reassured about the validity of the measures being taken, and given clear advice about what they are expected to do to prevent themselves and others from catching the infection.
* Published in print edition on 13 November 2020
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