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Mauritius bans all travel from South Africa out of concern over new variant

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Mauritius has joined a growing list of countries imposing travel restrictions on South Africa and five other countries over a newly identified COVID-19 variant. The other countries are Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.

All commercial flights from South Africa to Mauritius will be suspended as from Monday, November 29.

The decision was announced by the Ministry of Health after the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 (B.1.1. 529) in South Africa.

The new variant, , dubbed Omicron, appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country, and scientists are concerned that its unusually high number of mutations could make it more transmissible and result in immune evasion. 

The World Health Organization classified it as a “variant of concern” on Friday.

So, travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Botswana will only be allowed entry in Mauritius if they spend 14 days outside those countries in a third country.

Repatriation flights for Mauritian citizens, work and residence permit holders will be organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and these groups of people will have to follow strict health protocols, including quarantine.

The statement also said that people who traveled to these countries within 14 days, prior to their arrival date in Mauritius, will undergo a mandatory PCR test and should self-isolate while awaiting their PCR result.

In the event that a person is positive for COVID-19, whether symptomatic or not, he/she will be admitted to dedicated centers or hospitals under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Those whose results are negative will still be monitored by the Ministry of Health and will have to do a mandatory PCR test on their day 7 and day 14.

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