When the first cases of Covid hit Mauritius in March 2020, the government acted swiftly, and declared a total lockdown.
And I mean total!
For two long weeks, no-one was allowed to leave their house (except for frontline workers) other than to go to the pharmacy, seek medical attention, care for sick or elderly relatives, or buy cooking gas.
Two long weeks of hearing sirens in the distance, and helicopters flying overhead, and not having a clue what was happening out there. A little scary, to say the least!
But even worse for the many Mauritians living in poverty, who don’t have a fully stocked pantry or a freezer full of food to fall back on, but instead, shop daily, after receiving that day’s wage.
In comparison, the rest of us had no right to complain, but did anyway, with some of the things I saw on Facebook making me livid: “Oh woe is me – I have to garden and clean the house as my gardener/maid isn’t allowed to work”. Really? Try watching your children starve!
Anyway, after two weeks, the supermarkets were allowed to reopen, and following very strict social-distancing and health guidelines (temperature taken before entering the supermarket, mandatory mask-wearing, and the liberal use of sanitisers), we were allowed to shop twice a week on specific days.
The days were allocated based on our surname, and police made roadside stops checking ID, and were posted at supermarket entrances, doing the same thing.
Anyone out on the wrong day was given an on-the-spot fine.
The queues were long, and the experience stressful.
But it was the right thing to do, as by late April, there were ZERO cases of Covid in the community.
The lockdown continued till mid-June, when everything reopened, with the wearing of masks remaining mandatory.
Then the borders reopened.
All incoming passengers had to quarantine for two weeks in (sometimes hugely expensive) hotels.
All well and good – we remained Covid-free, and lived our lives with minimal restriction.
And then after almost 11 months of ZERO community-transferred cases of Covid in Mauritius, and 9 months of normal life, cases started popping up in the Central Plateau region of the island.
How did this happen?
Who knows – the government say the virus came over on imported food packaging (!), while others blame “VIPs” who flew in from India, and whose mandatory quarantine requirements were waived by said government, allowing them to infect our population, and send us back into lockdown.
Which is where we’ve been since March 10, and will remain for the foreseeable future.
I get to go shopping on Tuesdays and Fridays, and spend the rest of the time alone at home, though this year, I have occasional company in the form of a stray kitten (fast becoming a cat) who adopted me last year.
But the main difference between the two lockdowns, is that last year, I poured my creative energies into cooking new and wonderful things (and gained 5kgs!), and this time, I’m busy getting my house ready for sale, as I hope to return to Australia by the end of the year.
This involves the usual painting of walls etc (boring), gardening (better), and making stuff to stage the place once lockdown is over (love, love, love!).
And that’s what I’ll be sharing with you for the remainder of lockdown (if I can remember how to use this site – it’s been a while!).
So if you’re a little creative, stay tuned, and, as is now the new normal, stay safe!