National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Friday revealed that the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services will continue to provide uninterrupted social services amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Speaking at a press conference, Communications Undersecretary at the President's Office, Mabrouq Abdul Azeez stated that government social services will continue without disruption and that the gender ministry actively monitored senior citizens, people with special needs and vulnerable individuals living in high-risk environments.
Responding to a question posed by The Edition concerning special measures to aid victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence in light of the COVID-19 lockdown, Mabrouq stated that the gender ministry has confirmed ongoing collaborative efforts with NEOC, the police, and the Prosecutor General's Office.
Additionally, Mabrouq disclosed that the Ministry of Education maintained a database of children living in high-risk households and that ministry officials were coordinating with local councils to monitor the safety of these individuals once every 24 hours.
Globally, alarm has been raised over higher incidence of domestic violence and gender-based violence due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with several vulnerable individuals forced into at-risk environments.
Several governments and non-governmental organisations around the world are stepping up efforts to protect the vulnerable. Many countries such as the United Kingdom operate national anti-domestic violence hotlines round the clock, while the United States is funding home-based childcare, with Australia launching programs to home-deliver contraceptives.
In Maldives, non-government organizations such as ARC (Advocating for the Rights of Children), and FLC (Family Legal Clinic) are collaborating with the Gender Ministry to raise awareness and encourage people to report cases. At present, any and all persons suffering from domestic violence or any form of abuse can reach out for help by calling either hotline; +960 3328393 to reach the gender ministry or +960 9977771 to seek help from FLC.
Presently, Maldives records 19 confirmed and six 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 1,118,200 people and claimed over 59,200 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 229,200 people have recovered.