Linux User Group of Mauritius Promoting open source software in our beautiful island

8Apr/200

Did you complain to the Consumer Protection Unit?

Posted by Ish Sookun

I watched the press conference of the National Communication Committee on COVID-19 last evening. A journalist asked Dr. Joomye a question pertaining to supermarkets that have doubled prices on certain products.

Dr. Joomye answered that only 38 complaints were received and that many people are complaining on social media rather doing it through the right channel. Despite this 180 commercial outlets were visited by the inspectors of the Ministry of Commerce on 7 April and several of them were booked for various contraventions.

I also see a lot of people complaining on social media. Officers of the Consumer Protection Unit do not spend their time reading comments on Facebook. If we want to fix unreasonable high prices in supermarkets then we should all use the proper channels to complain.

A few days ago I saw a post shared by a friend on Facebook. See the receipt from a supermarket in Mahebourg.

Source: Facebook (https://bit.ly/3e3PjI2)

As per the client, he purchased a packet of cigarettes which is Rs 150 usually but the supermarket charged him Rs 175 during this coronavirus confinement period. It is only afterward that he realized that the supermarket charged him the additional Rs 25 as miscellaneous. If this avers true then the person should have complained about it to the Consumer Protection Unit rather than posting on Facebook to draw likes & comments.

I cannot verify the authenticity of the supermarket receipt and whether the person having posted it is sharing the complete story, but I am only using it as an example.

How to report?

If you notice that shopkeepers and supermarket owners are abusing on the prices, please inform the Consumer Protection Unit through their hotline 185 or email consumerpu@govmu.org.

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4Apr/200

Data protection poorly understood in Mauritius 🥺

Posted by Ish Sookun

Mauritius counted 186 positive COVID-19 cases including 7 deaths as at 3 April.

With the rise of cases I notice a lot of people calling the authorities to release personal information of patients having tested positive for the novel coronavirus. People think the release of such personal information will make contact tracing a much quicker exercise.

I've had arguments with people on Facebook. I even reported people to the Cybercrime Unit for breaching the Data Protection Act by sharing the personal information of COVID-19 patients.

People argue that contact tracing will be faster if personal information of patients is released. Many are citing the example of how South Korea released information to accelerate contact tracing. Unfortunately, people do not read or enquire properly.

South Korea has an experience dealing from previous epidemics, such as the MERS outbreak in 2015. Their medical personnel and relevant authorities were able to quickly step up with containment plans.

South Korean authorities did not release personal information of patients. It is wrong to assume that.

Legislation enacted since then gave the government authority to collect mobile phone, credit card, and other data from those who test positive to reconstruct their recent whereabouts. That information, stripped of personal identifiers, is shared on social media apps that allow others to determine whether they may have crossed paths with an infected person.
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Information shared by the South Korean authorities were anonymized.

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2Apr/200

Chaos reigns as supermarkets re-open in Mauritius today

Posted by Ish Sookun

Despite the strict guidelines laid out by the authorities and all the sanitary precautions advised by medical officers through various channels, Social Distancing remains an alien term to many.

Supermarkets and shops started operating as from 09h00 today, as it was announced by the Prime Minister a few days ago.

Alas! It's chaos... at most of the major hypermarkets of the island. A long queue of people can be seen at Super U, Grand Baie. A similar trend is observed at other supermarkets, as posted by l'express.

Images source: l'express page on Facebook

Last night a 20 years old girl died at the New Souillac Hospital. She was admitted about a week ago after testing positive to COVID-19. She is the sixth and youngest fatal victim of COVID-19 in Mauritius. As per Dr. V. Gujadhur of the National Communication Committee, she might have gotten infected while frequently visiting a supermarket in her locality.

It appears that this story does not overwhelm people enough to prevent them from storming the supermarkets early on.

The supermarkets and shops will operate till 17h00 today. If you go there and find a long queue please don't be like the rest, just return home and check again later. Every family can make provisions twice per week as per the alphabetical order published by the National Communication Committee.

Also, you do not necessarily need to head to the hypermarkets as you will probably find the essential items in a nearby shop which might be less crowded.

Stay safe !

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1Apr/200

क्या openSUSE Asia Summit 2020 अब भी भारत में होगा ?

Posted by Ish Sookun

इस प्रश्न का उत्तर जानने के लिए हमें जुलाई के महीने तक इंतजार करना होगा।

१७ मार्च को openSUSE Board की बैठक हुई। यह निर्णय लिया गया कि इस समय हम केवल COVID-19 की स्थिति देख सकते हैं और जुलाई तक इंतजार कर सकते हैं जब बोर्ड द्वारा openSUSE.Asia Summit और oSLO 2020 को लेकर कुछ निर्णय लिया जाएगा।

तब तक सुरक्षित रहें और यदि आप का देश लॉकडाउन में हैं तो कृपया घर पर रहें।

Filed under: Hindi, India, openSUSE No Comments
31Mar/200

Supermarkets re-open in Mauritius amid curfew

Posted by Ish Sookun

In his press conference, last evening, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, P. K. Jugnauth, announced that the sanitary curfew is being extended till 15 April. The extension has been prompted by the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. As at date we have registered 143 COVID-19 cases, three of which have been fatal. None of the patients have undergone full recovery so far.

An extended curfew means that people will be confined to their houses for a longer time. Therefore, many families require food provisions.

The Prime Minister announced that supermarkets and shops will re-open as from 2 April but under strict conditions. In today's press conference by the National Communication Committee, the conditions were announced in detail.

Supermarkets and shops will operate from 09h00 - 17h00, Monday to Saturday. Access to the supermarkets will be allowed on alphabetical order. For this purpose, everyone should bring their national identity card with them and expats should bring their passport or residential/work permit. Identity verification will be done before access is granted to the shops.

Alphabetical order as per family name will be as follows:

  • A to F, Monday and Thursday
  • G to N, Tuesday and Friday
  • O to Z, Wednesday and Saturday

All supermarkets and shops will be closed on Sundays. Actions will be taken against shop owners who do not abide to the rules.

There will be further controls before people can gain access to supermarkets, e.g temperature reading. If people are found to have a temperature above 37.5°C or they are coughing/sneezing, they will be required to step away from the queue. They will have to wait for a hospital ambulance to come and they will taken to the hospital for a further medical check-up.

People who gain access to the supermarket will be allowed to use only one caddy which will be disinfected by the supermarket personnel. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

Once inside the supermarket people will have to go through a traced line to collect items they need which will have specific limits (e.g three packets of rice, flour and oil). People will have to follow the line and move forward only, no turning back.

Following the above controlled access to supermarkets and shops, every family will be able to make food provisions twice per week.

These strict guidelines are laid to limit interaction between people. I sincerely hope that people going to the supermarkets adhere to the guidelines for their own protection and the protection of others.

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30Mar/200

What is an essential food pack?

Posted by Ish Sookun

Last week several online shopping services sprouted to answer the call of numerous people who needed food provisions amid the COVID-19 confinement. I say « services » rather than websites because some of them are operating through Facebook pages, Messenger, WhatsApp or even text messages.

Two things are bugging in most of the services. They are:

  • high price
  • poorly thought food pack

The Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry recommends the following online shopping websites:

  • theshop.mu
    Not taking new orders at the moment as they do not have delivery slots available. Individual products cannot be ordered. They inform customers that new packs varied as per customers' requests will be available soon.
  • priceguru.mu
    An SOS Essential Basket at Rs 3,610 (incl. VAT).
Screenshot taken on 30 March 2020

The basket includes the following:

Advertised as « SOS COVID-19 3ème Age » Food Essentials Basket, the basket is clearly not for a vegetarian family. 😔 Besides why forcing 9 packs of Macaroni on the customer? Keep the list smaller to reduce the price and be able to deliver to more families.

Price Guru also tossed the term contactless delivery. 🤔

  • shopwise.mu

Shop Wise is closed right now.

  • ordermanzer.mu

OrderManzer offers a Basic Pack and a Vegetables Pack, both at Rs 1,500 each.

  • dreamprice.mu

Dream Price informs its customers (on the website) that they have reached the maximum order limit and that they shall communicate once they can take new orders. They offer several packs, namely:

  • Basic Pack (contains staple food, salt, sugar, tuna, mackerel, etc.)
  • Non Food Pack (contains soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, washing machine powder, etc.)
  • Baby Pack (contains baby diaper & wipes, but no baby food/milk.)
  • Adult Pack (contains adult diaper)

Today, Winner's re-launched their online shopping service. I had great hopes that they will stop this trend of poorly thought essential packs and rather focus on letting people choose the products they need from a limited set and limited number to pick.

Alas, they offer Essential Packs too, just like the others. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Both « paniers » by Winner's contain Tuna & Sardine. 🐟

I asked myself the question, what is an Essential Food Pack? Shouldn't it be a universal food package (i.e caters for both vegetarians & non-vegetarians) that comes at a very affordable price and be able to last for a longer period of time?

If one goes for the Winner's Panier 1, then what happens when the Tuna/Sardine is over? The family has to purchase another pack and get more flour/rice/oil which they probably do not need. 😐

Does a low income family find themself being able to buy food packs for as long as this confinement lasts?

Okay, for a moment, let's say for the sake of simplicity and rapid service the supermarkets adopted this « food packing » trend (copying a messed up idea that someone started), then, couldn't the supermarkets come up with properly varied packs at just a few hundreds of rupees rather than being Rs 1,000 or Rs 2,000 plus?

What can be done?

Supermarkets (and online shopping websites) can offer simple packages without the possibility of choosing any particular brand. Examples:

  • Staple Food Pack (Rice/Flour/Oil/Sugar/Salt)
  • Canned Food Pack (Non-Veg)
  • Canned Food Pack (Veg)
  • Pasta Pack (Macaroni/Torti/Noodles/Pasta Sauce)
  • Baby Food Pack (Baby Food/Milk)
  • Hygiene Pack General (Soap/Toothpaste/Toothbrush/Hand Sanitizer/Toilet Paper)
  • Hygiene Pack Ladies (Feminine hygiene products)
  • Hygiene Pack Babies (Diapers/Wipes/Lotion)

The above are a just a few ideas and each of those packages should be such that they do not exceed Rs 500. Then, families will be able combine the different packages to obtain what they lack the most.

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29Mar/200

Over 100 positive COVID-19 cases in Mauritius & supermarkets are re-opening soon

Posted by Ish Sookun

We have reached 102 positive COVID-19 cases in Mauritius, including two deaths. This was announced last evening by the National Communication Committee.

Two hospitals have been dedicated to treat COVID-19 patients only; the New Souillac Hospital and the New ENT Hospital.

Local cases of COVID-19 are being identified daily. Despite this alarm, the curfew, and the confinement, people do not seem to follow strict hygiene guidelines. Press reports show how people are queueing up at gas stations, close to each other; some not properly covered.

Meanwhile, the much awaited online shopping for groceries, which received the government's approval, was an utter disappointed, both in terms of service and price. The essential food packs offered by several of the providers were poorly thought; vegetarians/vegans or people with food allergies were totally excluded.

People expressed « trust issues » with the choice of online shopping websites recommended by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


It is a big opportunity missed by the major grocery shops as they failed to come up with proper plans & logistics.

Following the « cafouillage » by the providers of online shopping services, the government is now considering to re-open the supermarkets under conditions which are to be announced.

Announcing guidelines a day before the supermarkets open will not be helpful. You must have noticed that in the past few days several measures were announced by the government but those clearly lacked the planning to be enforced properly. I have a feeling that the opening of the supermarkets could end up causing more harm.

I urge people who need to make food provisions, once the supermarkets are open, to please do so by following strict hygiene guidelines and also consider the safety of others. 😷 🧴

Image source: World Health Organization

If you are sick, please do not go to the supermarket. Ask a friend or relative to make the provisions for you. If you cannot seek help from friends or relatives, then call the nearest police station and explain them your situation. 🚓 👮🏻

For medical emergencies related to COVID-19, please call the hotline 8924.

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26Mar/200

Court appearing through WhatsApp

Posted by Ish Sookun

The Prime Minister of Mauritius, P. K. Jugnauth, announced a complete lockdown of all supermarkets, shops and bakeries, two days ago. This comes on top of the nationwide confinement that started exactly a week ago.

People are thus confined in their homes. Essential services, like healthcare & sanitary services, police and the fire services are operational. The Courts of Mauritius are operational to a strict minimum too.

The Supreme Court of Mauritius, by order of the Chief Justice, Hon. Eddy Balancy, issued a communique stating that all Courts will remain closed until the end of the confinement. However, district magistrates will remain available through technological means in District Courts to listen to urgent matters such as requests for conditional freedom for first time offenders, cancellation of arrest warrants, protection orders concerning children and victims of domestic violence.

Yesterday, the Anti-Robbery Squad arrested a person after the latter posted on Facebook that people are « rioting » in a particular region in Mauritius.

The Mauritius Police Force are tougher against anything that amounts to fake news or the spread of fake news during an already tensed situation like the current COVID-19 crisis.

A day later, that is today, the person's conditional freedom plea was heard by a magistrate of the District Court of Black River (Bambous), through WhatsApp and the decision to allow bail was given through same. While court cases heard through video conferencing is not a new thing in Mauritius, it is definitely a first that a common online messaging tool such as WhatsApp has been used to hear a court plea.

Bravo for ensuring that justice is served (even amid a crisis)! ⚖️

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24Mar/200

Where to obtain COVID-19 updates?

Posted by Ish Sookun

Six days ago the Prime Minister of Mauritius, P. K. Jugnauth, announced to the population that we have recorded the first cases of COVID-19 in Mauritius. Since then much has happened.

The number of COVID-19 cases jumped from 3 less than a week ago to become 42 today.

A National Communication Committee on COVID-19 was set up to provide daily updates on MBC channels at 11h30. The committee provides information on the number of positive COVID-19 cases being identified, status of people in quarantine, additional measures being taken by the government, etc.

I suggest that the one source of information to trust right now should be the National Communication Committee.

Media outlets are picking bits of information from the daily press conference and reporting those individually. That's fine but refrain from re-sharing or posting un-trusted or un-verified information on social media networks. People claiming on social media that hospital staff or relatives working there are giving alarming facts are NOT FACTS! They just contribute to the pile of fake news and rumours.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness updates covid19.mu which is a page that provides the number of active COVID-19 cases in Mauritius and health advice to stay safe.

My developer friends published COVID-19 Mauritius, a webpage that provides COVID-19 statistics for Mauritius. Their source is the local newspapers and radio stations. The source code of the webpage is available on GitHub and contributors are most welcome.

L'express has a dossier of articles on COVID-19.

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24Mar/200

Mauritian geeks, let’s unite against COVID-19

Posted by Avinash Meetoo

Now that the coronavirus has become reality in Mauritius and new cases of the COVID-19 disease are being found every day, it is time for us, geeks of Mauritius, to unite.

We, computer scientists, software engineers, makers, mathematicians, statisticians, etc. have an important role to play together with all the other professionals who are already working hard on finding solutions.

I am proposing that, should you have an idea or have developed a web app or a mobile app, that you believe could be useful in this difficult period to send me all the details, ideally in the form of a document (PDF or otherwise), of what you have done. My contact details are in my CV (most notably my email address which is avinashmeetoo@gmail.com)

I’ll then do my best to forward what you have sent me to the most appropriate people in Government.

For discussion among ourselves, may I propose the Mauritius channel on Reddit?