COVID-19: A shocking lack of information

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Dear Nad Sivaramen, 

In my capacity as Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the PMSD, I wish to thank you and your newspaper for having constantly alerted public opinion on the numerous worrying issues surrounding the so-called Covid-19 third wave in Mauritius. All of us are battling against a shocking lack of information due to the absence of transparency and accountability on the part of the health authorities and the attempt by ministers to blur and confuse issues. I will take four examples: 

– The real penetration of the virus inside the community is unknown since public health authorities now refuse to test persons who are asymptomatic. Yet government continues to publish contamination figures and claim a substantial fall in persons infected, although this is clearly due to the change in testing policy. 

– Similarly, the number of persons admitted to the specially designated treatment centre, ENT Hospital, is published daily, although for some weeks now, numerous Covid-19 patients have also been admitted to all 5 regional hospitals and these statistics are never disclosed. 

– Thirdly, doctors and other medical personnel have repeatedly disputed the number of declared Covid deaths as being materially understated.

As regards my personal experience, this occurred whilst trying to help a good friend of mine, who being a cardiac patient fell sick with Covid-19. I confirm the complete accuracy of your newspaper’s account thereof, which was also taken up by another major newspaper. As published in the press, a close friend of mine started experiencing severe respiratory symptoms on Friday 3rd September whilst attending a private clinic. As the hospital was not equipped to treat Covid-19 patients, both the hospital and the family sought to have him transferred to ENT Hospital or an ICU in one of our regional hospitals. 

As no place could be found, the family contacted me the next day (…) I made a series of phone calls over several hours to identify a public hospital willing to admit him. No suitable bed with ventilator could be found. ENT informed me that only one place was available, reserved understandably for a previous prime minister who was expected to be admitted in the coming hours. Having been unable to find a place, the private clinic finally agreed to keep the patient for another 48 hours. A place at ENT was made available only on Tuesday 7th September, that is four days later and the patient was transferred there and thank god, has now fully recovered. This was indeed a traumatic experience for the family and for myself. Your newspapers account of this incident was therefore totally accurate.

– Finally, the efficacy of the 7 vaccines administered in Mauritius has not been divulged. Government recently informed us that several thousand fully vaccinated persons had subsequently tested positive, with a number having experienced serious symptoms and even death. I have requested statistics on which vaccines have proven less efficacious so that this information could be used by persons considering to be vaccinated. To date, these important statistics have not been published. 

Hon. Xavier-Luc DUVAL

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