Maldives Police Service on Thursday revealed that Kuredu Island Resort and Spa's management deliberately delayed reporting the first case of COVID-19 in the country.
The Italian tourist, who was vacationing at Kuredu, stayed in Maagiri Hotel on March 1 and 2 after being unable to depart for Italy as initially planned. He tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in his home country.
Speaking at a press conference, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Riyaz revealed the then-symptomatic Italian first visited the resort's resident doctor on February 26 and returned to the doctor the next day with further complications. The patient has a medical history with similar symptoms to the virus. Noting that tests were required to diagnose the possible infection, the doctor recommended bed rest and the patient was sent to their room and kept in isolation.
Riyaz stated that the resort's doctor did not call the Health Protection Agency (HPA) hotline to report the matter, despite the patient showing symptoms.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police also disclosed that the tourist was not allowed to board the initially booked flight after fainting twice at Velana International Airport.
However, Riyaz added that the investigation must be completed to establish which organization or company was guilty of negligence.
As of now, Maldives currently has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a tourist couple on a liveaboard, two cases from Anantara Dhigu, five foreign nationals from Kuredu Island Resort as well as two foreign citizens from Sandies Bathala and Kuramathi Maldives each. No locals have tested positive for the virus as of yet.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 219, 000 and claimed over 8, 960 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 85, 670 have recovered.