Sunday Times



Mauritius is offering free Covid-19 vaccines to all internatio­nal visitors who are in the country on a long-stay premium visa. The government launched the visa — which allows visitors to stay for up to one year and can be extended — in November in an effort to offset the damage caused to the travel and tourism sector by the pandemic.

Mauritius is currently in a national lockdown and all flights to the island have been suspended, though this is scheduled to be lifted on April 15. Unless the situation changes, after that flights will resume and arrivals will be required to have a negative PCR test, take a test on arrival, and then spend 14 days in quarantine (in-room), with follow-up tests on days seven and 14.

While those measures make a short-term visit highly impractica­l, the premium visa is meant to attract digital nomads and retirees for whom making it to the other side of the quarantine will be worthwhile.

Now, the promise of eligibilit­y for the vaccine is an added incentive. Mauritius is the only country in the world offering the long-term visitor visas free of charge and a free Covid vaccine to holders of these visas.

Applicants for the premium visa must provide evidence of their long-stay plans and have adequate travel and health insurance.

Their main source of income must be outside the country, as they are not entitled to enter the Mauritian workforce.

Mauritius is using the Oxford/AstraZenec­a vaccine. Last week, authoritie­s announced that 117,323 people had received their first jab since the rollout began on January 26, representi­ng 17% of the target population.

The target for herd immunity is 700,000 and the country expects to reach that around the end of June 2021, after which a phased easing of travel restrictio­ns is expected.

Pictured above is the five-star Le Touessrok Resort on the east coast. Its nearest village is something of a tourism hub, whose name translates in English as “sweet waterhole”.

To stand a chance of winning R500, tell us the name of the closest village to Le Touessrok. E-mail travelquiz@sundaytime­ before noon on Tuesday April 6. Last week’s winner is Veenesh Jivan of Winchester Hills, Joburg. The answer was Finland.

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