- Mauritius, which has been closed to international visitors throughout the pandemic, will reopen its borders on 15 July.
- Fully vaccinated tourists will be able to enjoy a resort holiday, with access the designated beaches.
- Tourists who stay for longer than two weeks will be able to explore the rest of the island nation.
- But South Africans, even if they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, are excluded from this reopening and will still be banned from entering Mauritius.
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Mauritius will reopen to vaccinated tourists from mid-July, but South Africans, even if they have received their jabs, will still not be allowed to enter the island nation.
As the global vaccination rollout continues to gather momentum, South African holidaymakers have hoped to see the easing of travel restrictions and a reopening of borders. But a recent string of flight cancellations and extended travel bans – coinciding with setbacks to South Africa’s slow vaccination rollout amid a third wave of Covid-19 infections – continue to isolate South Africans eyeing overseas getaways.
Mauritius, located in the Indian ocean off the east coast of Madagascar, is one such holiday destination which remains off limits to travellers who have passed through South Africa in the last 14 days.
Travel to the island nation has been heavily restricted since the pandemic first gripped the globe in 2020. Mauritius’ tentative reopening to international tourists in September was quickly undone by a rise in infections and the emergence of Covid-19 variants, like the 501Y.V2 mutation first identified in South Africa.
Mauritius returned to a full lockdown in March 2021, with all international flights to and from the island suspended for more than two months.
More than a third of Mauritius’ population had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the start beginning of June. This island nation hopes to achieve herd immunity by September.
Despite recording a marked increase in Covid-19 cases in June, Mauritius announced on Friday that it would reopen to tourists in a two-phase approach.
The first phase will see vaccinated travellers enjoying a resort holiday on the island from 15 July onwards. Vaccinated visitors will still need to present negative Covid-19 test results before departing and upon arrival in Mauritius.
Tourists who stay on the island for less than 14 days will be limited to the confines of “safe” resorts authorised by the Mauritian Government. Unlike quarantine, where travellers would be required to remain indoors, vaccinated tourists will be able to enjoy the resorts’ facilities and beach access.
Traveller’s who remain in Mauritius for longer than two weeks – and present a negative Covid-19 test on day 14 of their stay – will be allowed to venture beyond the resort and explore the island’s attractions.
Unvaccinated travellers will be required to quarantine in their rooms for two weeks.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated South African travellers will not, however, be allowed into Mauritius during Phase 1 of the reopening. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) noted on Friday that the only way fully vaccinated South Africans could enter the island nation was if “they have not been in South Africa for at least 14 days prior to boarding a flight to Mauritius”.
Phase 2 of the reopening, which will come into effect in October, will do away with the 14-day resort stay required for vaccinated travellers. Fully vaccinated tourists – defined as those who have received the full number of doses required and posses a valid vaccination certificate – will be able to explore Mauritius upon arrival.
A representative of the MTPA confirmed to Business Insider South Africa that access to fully vaccinated South African travellers was being considered for Phase 2 of Mauritius’ reopening.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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