Weekly Island Round-Up - 2nd Aug 2021
Here are 3 things happening in Mauritius this week!
1) Mauritius Orders Covid-19 Doses to Cover Remaining Population. 42% of the population are fully vaccinated
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation dependent on tourism, has ordered 2.3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, which will help take coverage to more than 100% of the population, according to Health Minister Kailesh Jagutpal.
The order includes 1.3 million Johnson & Johnson units and 500,000 Sinopharm doses, he told lawmakers on Tuesday. The country plans to source 140,000 Pfizer vaccines to inoculate children between 12 to 17 years of age and also expects additional doses to be delivered through the Covax facility, he said.
Of about 1.265 million people in Mauritius, 52% have received a first dose and 42% have completed the course. Mauritius is ramping up vaccination to reach herd immunity ahead of the second phase of reopening borders to inoculated tourists on Oct. 1.
2) A year after the Wakashio disaster, Mauritius comes under pressure to release the crew who have been detained for a year without charges
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is among a host of organisations calling for the immediate release and repatriation of the Wakashio crew who have been held by Mauritian authorities now for over a year.
Following the grounding of the Wakashio, Captain Sunil Kumar Nandeshwar and chief officer Tilakaratna Subodha were arrested by Mauritian authorities. On August 18 they were charged with endangering safe navigation. The pair have been detained in prison since their arrest and have been denied bail. Most of the remainder of the crew have been detained under house arrest and kept in a local hotel, seemingly on the grounds that they may be required to appear as witnesses in a trial that has yet to commence. Some of these seafarers have not seen their families for more than two years.
The Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping was en route to Brazil from Asia, before diverting from its course, running aground on pristine coral reefs just off southern Mauritius on July 25. The bulk carrier would go on to spill around 1,000 tonnes of bunker fuel before splitting in two. One year on from the grounding, 2020’s most high profile shipping accident, the flag state, Panama, has yet to make its accident investigation report public.
3) Mauritian forests are disappearing fast: between 2019 to 2020, 20 hectares of forests have disappeared.
The latest report from the Bureau of Environmental Statistics shows and overall increase in emissions, threatening bio-diversity.
Energy supplies from local renewable sources fell by 13.3%, while there was an increase in emissions due to landfill waste. Worryingly, within only a year, 20 hectares of forest were cleared between 2019-2020, mainly for private development and agriculture purposes.