Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Friday revealed that a Maldivian national who was placed in quarantine at Holiday Island Resort facility has tested positive for COVID-19.
During a press conference held in Dharubaaruge, the agency revealed that the 38-year-old individual, who had travelled back to Maldives from Europe, did not show any symptoms at the time of arrival.
The individual was placed in quarantine on March 22 upon arrival. Tests were conducted on March 25, after the person began displaying coronavirus-like symptoms and the results were obtained on March 27.
Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen stated that thus far, the person displayed only mild symptoms of COVID-19.
He added that though social distancing was adhered to during transportation, further contact tracing for this individual was currently in progress.
The Minister said that although this was the first instance that a local tested positive, the situation has not reached 'community spread' stage; the infection is not considered to be spreading among the Maldivian community.
Nevertheless, Ameen added that authorities are working under the assumption that the virus may be present within the community and urged the citizens to obey the current safety measures put in place by the government.
With this new development, Maldives now has 14 confirmed and five active cases of COVID-19, with a total of nine recoveries.
Currently, 19 people are placed in isolation facilities, while 746 are in quarantine facilities. As a preventative measure, HPA has ordered authorities to halt on-arrival visas from March 27 onwards. Furthermore, all inbound locals or visa holders will be placed under observation at a designated facility for a period of 14 days.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 530,000 and claimed over 24,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 124,000 have recovered.