In light of the resurgence in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the island nation of Mauritius, The High-Level Committee and the Council of Ministers have taken the decision to extend the second phase of reopening until June 30, 2021.
Here’s a breakdown of the numbers relating to Covid-19, at the time of writing, provided by the Government Information Service:
604 patients considered to be cured were able to return home.
The total number of positive COVID-19 cases locally since March 5 is as follows:
• 572 cases recorded following Contact Tracing and samples at COVID-19 Testing Centers
• 139 cases recorded in quarantine (negative patients on admission)
• 37 cases recorded following targeted screening
• 8 deaths attributed to COVID-19 (7 local cases and 1 imported case)
According to MTPA (Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority), consultations with tourism partners in Mauritius have intensified to open international travel borders by the middle of 2021. There is significant effort being poured into developing travel procedures, examining appropriate air connectivity choices as well as creating worldwide tourism campaigns.
As a result of the rapid growth of the vaccinated number and progression in controls, IATA (International Air Transport Association) believes that the travel will resume faster than expected. By the third quarter of 2021, more than 50% of their population is expected to be vaccinated by the developed countries. It is expected that in the next few months, Mauritius will have secured enough orders to achieve its targets of vaccination and herd immunity.
UnionPay in Africa
UnionPay International, founded in 2002, is China UnionPay’s global arm (CUP). The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, with 85 domestic banks as shareholders established CUP, or simply UnionPay. It is a network of payments and a card system, similar to the Interswitch card Visa, Mastercard and Verve.
The Chinese scheme has become one of the world’s largest card brands and payment networks over the last 15 years. It is worth remembering that in 2010, MCB and UnionPay formalized their partnership.The agreement between the two institutions marked the beginning of UnionPay card acceptance in Mauritius. In addition, UnionPay has access to other countries where MCB is present, such as Seychelles and the Maldives. By the end of 2019, Standard Bank, one of the largest South African banks, partnered to issue cards to clients. In June 2020, the Chinese company entered into another agreement in support of contactless national payments with another South African bank, First National Bank (FNB).
UnionPay International (UPI) has recently announced significant progress in the South African retail payments market through a tripartite partnership with Absa Bank and Massmart. Builder’s Warehouse and Game are now licensed to accept UnionPay cards at all of their point-of-sale checkouts, improving the shopping experience for customers in South Africa.
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Madagascar, and Mauritius are among the African countries that have issued UnionPay cards. Furthermore, in response to global digital transformation and financial inclusion, the company launched several innovative payment products in Africa.
Mauritius’ first satellite, MIR-SAT1, is scheduled to launch on Thursday, 3 June, onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS2 SpX-22 mission to the International Space Station (UTC). The NASA/SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is being carried together with the satellite to the international Space Station by the cargo refueling mission Dragon (CRS 22). It will be removed at 13:29 p.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A in NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre (1729 GMT).
MIR-SAT1 (Mauritius Imagery and Radio – Satellite 1) was designed by a team of Mauritian engineers and an experienced radio amateur from the Mauritius Amateur Radio Society in collaboration with experts from AAC-Clyde Space UK. Mauritius was the winner of the 3rd round UNOOSA(United Nations – through the Office for Outer Space Affairs)/JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) KiboCube Programme in 2018. JAXA awarded the nation the opportunity to build and deploy a 1U Cube Satellite through the International Space Station (ISS). In February, MIR-SAT1 was handed over to JAXA to be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) “KiboCUBE” on the ISS (International Space Station).
The MRIC (Mauritius Research and Innovation Council) has established a ground station located at its premises in Ebene, which will control and operate the MIR-SAT1. This ground station will also allow the receipt of data and telemetry from other satellites. The ground station is being equipped with a ‘FlatSat’ module, a replica of the 1U (fully integrated nanosatellite), enabling engineers to simulate and perform all the necessary manoeuvres before sending the command to the CubeSat. The FlatSat Module is a significant tool to construct future CubeSats after the MIR-SAT1, for Mauritian engineers.
The fruitful collaboration with JAXA and Clyde Space experts during the implementation of the MIR-SAT1 project, has enabled for the MRIC to envisage a long-term program – The Mauritius Space Program – whose objective will be to explore how space technologies as well as satellite technologies and satellite data can be utilized in the Mauritian context to contribute to its social-economic growth and innovation.