The Edition


WHO donates 1000 COVID-19 test kits to Maldives

Ahmed Aiham
20 February 2020, MVT 15:46
Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen (C) and World Health Organization Representative to Maldives, Dr Arvind Mathur (R). PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
20 February 2020, MVT 15:46

World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, handed over 1,000 testing kits to the Ministry of Health.

With the donations, suspected cases of the virus found in the country can be tested in a timely manner. Previously, test samples were sent to Pune, India, for analysis.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Health Minister Ibrahim Ameen stated that tests for COVID-19 can be conducted at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). Results will be available within 10-12 hours.

So far, no cases of the virus have been detected in the country, although seven individuals who travelled from China were quarantined and tested.

The new strain of coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City in late 2019 has now claimed more than 2,120 lives and infected over 75,600 individuals.

Maldives has implemented a number of preventive measures to prevent an outbreak in the country, notably restricting the entry of all persons who have China as their port of embarkation or have transited through Mainland China, regardless of their nationality. The largest number of tourist arrivals to Maldives are from China.

Prior to this, the government also temporarily suspended all incoming direct flights from China and released a travel advisory for all Maldivians, warning against all non-essential travel to China and countries where the virus has been detected.

Ministry of Tourism recorded China with the highest number of tourist arrivals from a single country in 2019. As per statistics, 284,029 tourists arrived from China, a 0.3 percent increase compared to 2018.