The Edition


COVID-19: Resort worker demanding to leave held in custody

Ahmed Aiham
27 March 2020, MVT 20:54
An aerial image of Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives in Vaavu Atoll. PHOTO: CINNAMON VELIFUSHI MALDIVES
Ahmed Aiham
27 March 2020, MVT 20:54

Maldives Police Service detained a resort worker demanding to leave his place of employment, Cinnamon Velifushi Resort, for reasons clarified as being for his own safety.

Police detained the 33-year-old man under a court order on Thursday.

According to authorities, the man issued threats of self-harm, in demand for a medical letter that would authorize his transfer off from Cinnamon Velifushi Resort.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) banned all travel between resorts and inhabited islands for a 14-day period in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ban was implemented under the state of Public Health Emergency declared in Maldives on March 12, on the order of Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru.

Maldives, like many other countries, has moved to quarantine a number of areas with suspected cases, isolating suspected and confirmed cases alike. However, despite significant public pressure to do so, and although all movement from resorts to islands is now restricted, the country is yet to issue a lockdown blocking all incoming travel from other countries.

As such, resort employees currently face the highest risk of exposure to the virus.

Addressing the media last Wednesday, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared that the government would halt on-arrival visas on March 27, over the debilitating drop in tourist arrivals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a measure to curb its spread within the country.

With Maldives to close its doors to tourists in the coming week, the president also touched upon the travel restrictions currently in place on resort islands across the archipelago.

He stated that the ban would be stretched to an additional period of 14-days after the last tourist leaves a resort, following which the staff, should there be no cases of COVID-19 detected on the island, would be allowed to leave.

HPA on Friday revealed that a Maldivian national who was placed in quarantine at Holiday Island Resort facility has tested positive for COVID-19.

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 mandated that all inbound passengers, with exception to tourists checking in to resorts, 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.

Editor's Note: Headline for the above article was amended from the original "Resort worker in custody over threatening to harm himself" to its current wording on 28th March 2020 over concerns regarding sensitivity for the subject. The Edition is committed to best practices in reporting at all times.