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HPA implements nation-wide travel ban, prohibits gatherings

Shahudha Mohamed
17 April 2020, MVT 17:35
Aerial view of Thanburudhoo island, a special surfing location in the Maldives. PHOTO: UNKNOWN
Shahudha Mohamed
17 April 2020, MVT 17:35

Health Protection Agency (HPA) on late Thursday ordered a travel ban on all islands across Maldives as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

According to HPA, local councils should work together with relevant authorities in overseeing the transport of food products and other necessary goods from one island to another amidst the travel ban.

In addition to the travel ban, HPA extended the lockdown on greater Male region for a period of 14 days.

However, Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture revealed that despite the ban, fishing vessels will be allowed to go for fishing and enter islands to weigh their catch. The Ministry urged all those in the industry to abide by the regulations set by HPA in doing so.

Authorities tightened the precautionary measures amidst the pandemic following the first confirmed case of community spread in Male' City, MAV021, a local female with no recent travel history, who presented to the flu clinic in Male after developing symptoms. She was tested positive on April 15.

The agency also prohibited gatherings anywhere outside of home, including private residences or public places. HPA especially warned against hosting parties and ceremonies, sporting activities, 'maahefun' celebrations prior to the month-long fasting in Ramadan, picnics, fishing trips and other social activities.

Authorities request all individuals to follow precautionary guidelines and maintain social distancing even when stepping out of their homes for necessities.

Moreover, HPA urged individuals to inform the authorities immediately, if someone with a recent history of traveling to capital Male', resorts or liveaboards exhibit any COVID-19-like symptoms.

Maldives now has 28 confirmed and 12 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over two million people and claimed over 145,521 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 547,295 people have recovered.

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