Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen announced on Monday that the government is working to increase the testing capacity for COVID-19 by setting up testing facilities in five areas across Maldives.
Speaking at the ceremony held to receive the 5,000 test kits from the World Health Organisation (WHO), minister emphasized the importance of testing to contain the spread of the virus and highlighted ongoing efforts to increase testing capacity in local islands.
"We are taking preventive measures and preparing for a scenario where things may get worse. In such a case, isolation, quarantine and treatment facilities will be established on islands. All [COVID-19] responses will take place across Maldives through a connected system", he said.
Currently, testing for COVID-19 can only be done at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in capital Male'. The hospital has the capacity to conduct 200 tests within 24hrs.
According to minister Ameen, treatment for COVID-19 is arranged across the country. While bulk of these resources are concentrated in the densely populated Greater Male' region, Intensive Care Units (ICU) and critical care facilities are planned to be established in 5 different atolls.
"God willing, we will introduce the ability to test for COVID-19 in the Northern, Central and Southern areas".
Ameen further stated that gene expert machines, commonly used for tuberculosis testing, were installed in hospitals established in six different atolls. WHO has given a temporary permit to the manufacturer of gene expert machines to also create cartridges that can test for COVID-19.
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 (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,332,110 people and claimed over 73,977 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 277,737 people have recovered.