Undersecretary at the President's Office Mabrouq Abdul Azeez revealed that several resort employees have been caught trying to flee their workplace on waste vessels heading to Thilafushi from resorts, in an attempt to travel home to their families.
Speaking at the daily press briefing held at Dharubaaruge to provide the latest updates regarding COVID-19 in Maldives, Mabrouq stated that Maldives Police Service responded to the alerts and swiftly sent the workers back to their resorts after having issued a warning.
According to Mabrouq, police are prepared to take legal measures against those involved, if such instances continue to take place.
The aforementioned incident is one of many that surfaced following the restrictions imposed by Health Protection Agency (HPA) across Maldives on March 14, banning all travel between resorts and inhabited islands, under the state of public health emergency that was announced on March 12.
It should be noted that for over two weeks, resort workers have been at their place of work, and until the issuing of on-arrival visas was halted on March 27, remained the most at-risk of contracting the virus.
Several resort workers are under arrest for travelling to other inhabited islands, with one having attempted a swim to Meedhoo, Seenu Atoll, from a neighbouring resort. Another resort staff threatened self-harm demanding to leave his place of employment and was placed under police custody for his own safety.
Revised HPA guidelines allow resort employees to leave 14 days after the last tourist has departed the island. In the event that the entry date of the last tourist to arrive exceeds 14 days, resort employees may leave the island if no positive, symptomatic or suspected COVID-19 cases were previously identified.
However, any employee who wishes to leave a resort where tourists are present must complete a 14-day quarantine period at the isolation area designated on the island. Staff members will only be allowed to depart the resort after being tested for COVID-19 and completing an exit screening process.
Presently, Maldives records 18 confirmed and five active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions have been recorded.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 860,00 people and claimed over 42,146 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 177,931 people have recovered.