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Criminal Court withholds Kuredu doctor's passport over negligence in 'patient zero' case

Mariyam Malsa
29 March 2020, MVT 12:13
Aerial photograph of Kuredu Island Resort. PHOTO: KUREDU ISLAND RESORT
Mariyam Malsa
29 March 2020, MVT 12:13

The Criminal Court prohibited Kuredu Island Resort and Spa's doctor, a Turkish national, over the delay in reporting the first case of COVID-19 in Maldives.

The court withheld the female doctor's passport, blocking her departure up to April 22, while authorities conclude their investigation into the matter.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Riyaz has confirmed that the doctor failed to contact the Health Protection Agency (HPA), despite an Italian tourist seeking medical attention on two occasions for virus-like symptoms.

The 49-year-old is accused of negligence in informing authorities of a suspected COVID-19 case and placing countless others at risk of contracting the virus.

The tourist in question transited in the capital city of Male' from March 1 to 2 after being unable to depart as initially planned and tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Italy.

Although the Italian tourist informed Maldivian authorities after testing positive for the virus, Kuredu Island Resort and Spa only notified the government when the resort's doctor began displaying symptoms.

Including the doctor, five of Maldives' COVID-19 cases were reported from Kuredu Island Resort.

The police have asserted the necessity of completing the investigation to establish which individual, organization or company was guilty of negligence.

Till date, Maldives confirmed a total of 16 COVID-19 cases with 11 recoveries. From this, one case is local while the rest are foreigners employed at resorts or tourists.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 663,700 and claimed over 30,800 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 142,100 have recovered.

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