President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, revealed on Monday that samples collected from all the suspected cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) tested negative for the virus.
The President made this announcement while delivering the Presidential Address at the parliament's 2020 inaugural session.
According to the Ministry of Health, the only suspected case fitting the surveillance criteria was a 20-year-old local male who flew in from Xiamen, China, on January 29. He was quarantined at the isolation facility in Fonadhoo, Kaafu Atoll, for treatment and investigation.
In addition to this case, six other patients were also monitored under surveillance and tested as well. The samples were sent to Pune, India, for testing as Maldives does not have the necessary means to do so.
The ministry noted that four of these cases were Maldivians who travelled from China and reported with acute respiratory symptoms although they did not fit the criteria of a suspected case, while the other two cases were locals who flew in from China showing no symptoms.
Upon receiving the results, Health Ministry declared that the aforementioned cases are no longer under surveillance. Therefore, there are no cases currently under quarantine for novel coronavirus.
The new strain of coronavirus originating from Wuhan City, China, has not infected 17,205 individuals and killed 361. Although China has taken extreme measures, such as quarantining entire cities, to control the spread of the virus, the number of confirmed cases still continue to rise exponentially.
Even though the virus has not yet been detected in Maldives, the country is already experiencing the economic repercussions of the outbreak. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih noted that direct flights from China to Maldives were suspended because the state considers the health of the general public their foremost priority.
"The government is taking every possible step for protection against this dangerous epidemic", stated the President, speaking about the biggest challenge thus far faced within his tenure.
By Sunday, a total of 13,287 tourist bookings were cancelled. Therefore, President Solih noted that additional efforts must be made this year towards marketing the tourism industry in order to recover the losses.
This Monday's hour-long parliamentary session concluded at 1000 hours, with the address spanning a duration of approximately 42 minutes.
Maldives' constitution stipulates that the president shall deliver his address during the initial sitting of the parliament's first term, which must be held within the first week of February.
In addition to the above, during the address, the president outlined various government priorities and key plans for the year 2020.