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COVID-19: State conducting studies on community spread

Shahudha Mohamed
07 April 2020, MVT 21:36
Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq speaking at a press conference regarding COVID-19 in Maldives. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
07 April 2020, MVT 21:36

National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) announced that research was in progress to ensure there is no community spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the press conference held by NEOC, Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq stated that the research would be carried out in two ways, by testing all patients admitted to hospitals for respiratory infections and collecting data on the number of patients with respiratory infections reported across Maldives.

In addition, Nazla stated that samples will be tested from those who visited the flu clinics to ensure that the virus is not spreading within the community.

"Until now, there has been no indication [of a community spread]", she said, adding that efforts were underway to launch another study in order to confirm it.

Noting that the current precautionary measures cannot be implemented forever, Nazla stated that there are certain things that must be ensured before the measures are slackened.

Therefore, HPA is also determining the risk of an outbreak if the state reduces the current precautions. Nazla informed that a technical team is already working on which measures to be reduced upon confirmation that there is no community spread of COVID-19.

The government has implemented various measures to contain the spread of virus within the country, such as shutting down all state institutions, schools, universities and colleges in addition to imposing a daily three-hour curfew within the greater Male' area.

As the authorities request the public to maintain social distancing, travel between resorts, liveaboards and inhabited islands have been restricted as well.

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 1,358,943 people and claimed over 75,896 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 293,446 people have recovered.

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